T HE S OP HIA T EA CHINGS
The E mergence of the Divine Feminine in O ur Time
The Sophia Teachings
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.The Sophia Teachings
The Emergence of the Divine Feminine in Our Time
Lantern Books New York A Division of Booklight Inc.
or otherwise. Suite 201 New York. NY 10003 Copyright © Robert Powell 2001 All rights reserved. cm. BL65.
Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Powell. mechanical. PDF) 1. recording.2001 Lantern Books One Union Square West.Wisdom—Religious aspects. Title. ISBN 1-930051-98-0 (eBook. photocopying.—dc21 2001029795
. or transmitted in any form or by any means. Robert The Sophia Teachings : the emergence of the divine feminine in our time / Robert Powell. I. No part of this book may be reproduced. without the written permission of Lantern Books. p. stored in a retrieval system.W57 P69 2001 299'93. electronic.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .53 5: The Influence of Divine Sophia in the East . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157 Epilogue . . . . . .11 2: Sophia in Ancient Greece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99 7: Reincarnation and the Second Coming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 6: Modern Teachings of Sophia . . . . . . .Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . .165
. . . . . .39 4: The Influence of Divine Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135 9: The Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius . .109 8: Other Traditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 1: The Divine Plan of Creation . .23 3: Why Sophia Disappeared from Western Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
HIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AS THE six-tape set. for which I am indebted to Tami Simon and Michael Taft. recorded by Sounds True in Boulder. Colorado. to Rosamund Hughes who transcribed the tapes. to Carol Dunn of Lantern Books for her fine editing of the spoken text. and to Lacquanna Paul for accompanying The Sophia Teachings from beginning to end with encouragement and helpful suggestions.
. Heartfelt gratitude to publisher Gene Gollogly for the inspiration to bring The Sophia Teachings into book form. The Sophia Teachings.
At the end of our meeting. She had invited me to Amsterdam to learn about her spiritual teacher. His name was Valentin Tomberg and I had come across his writings and became deeply interested in him. “You are the one to translate this into English. At the time. a Russian individual whom I never met but who interestingly enough had lived in the town in England where I grew up after he had left Russia. I wrote to Eva and we planned to meet: It was really a turning point in my life. I agreed to translate the manuscript and began work on
. she gave me a manuscript written in French. Eva provided me with the background necessary for understanding Tomberg’s life.Introduction
FIRST CAME TO DIVINE SOPHIA THROUGH A meeting with Eva Cliteur at the beginning of 1978.” she said. I was about to go to Switzerland to begin a four-year study in eurythmy—a spiritually based form of movement taught by the Austrian esotericist Rudolf Steiner early in the twentieth century. Nevertheless.
The process of translating took me through many experiences that awoke within me a relationship to the Divine Sophia. my opening of the heart. In communicating these Sophia teachings. but from the outset I want to make clear that my spiritual awakening. We have forgotten the ability to appreciate multidimensional aspects of existence. as a society. I hope to be able to express something of this wonder. new love and new appreciation for all that is around us. I shall go in to this in more detail. who is deeply concerned about what is taking place in the world at the present time. my learning to think. Sophia is a being who through immense love for every human being on this
. and my beginning to feel in a new way opened up to me a multidimensional rather than a linear approach to things such as I had learned previously as a scientist and mathematician. on a much deeper level than we can possibly imagine. I am not talking about an abstract quality such as “Wisdom”—the literal translation of the Greek word Sophia. In using the word Sophia. who can breathe into us new life and warmth. Sophia is the being who can open us up. I was transformed from a mere translator into someone on a quest. and beauty that we can discover through finding Sophia.The Sophia Teachings
it. I now believe that Sophia is someone who enables us to begin to discover who we are. glory. I am referring to a living being. and who is now drawing closer to humanity at this time of crisis. What do I mean when I talk about “Sophia”? Fundamentally. Through our scientific technological civilization we have lost this heart-felt relationship to existence and we need to find it again. Through my experience with the manuscript. a being who is the Divine Mother of humanity. I believe that we. Sophia is the one who can help us to do this. and what we are able to do. what we think. what we feel. lack these qualities. one who cares for every one of us.
Divine mysticism is something about which all the great mystics have spoken. It is when a breath of divine love enters us. I will describe these briefly and then illustrate them in relationship to the Divine Sophia by referring to King Solomon. Such a relationship is essential if we want to open to Sophia. I shall describe
. a gnostic relationship to the world. if we are to start to feel a sense of divine union. and a magical relationship to the world. These are what we could call a mystical relationship to the world. Throughout the book. who lived from 1900 to 1973. The Three Primary Aspects of Our Relationship to Existence A mystical relationship to existence implies an opening of the heart. and who from this other dimension is seeking to guide us. to be published posthumously—mainly because the author. there are three primary aspects of our relationship to existence. When this happens. This is a first step in finding a relationship to Divine Sophia. wanted to communicate with us.Introduction
planet is concerned with finding a way out of the impasse into which we have come. The manuscript I translated was eventually published as Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. This work was written anonymously. We have to take the step from just feeling about things in an ordinary way to expanding our whole sensory and emotional life. as a friend who has gone on to live in another dimension of existence. the readers. whom we could think of as an archetypal seeker of divine wisdom. we find that our whole feeling life becomes elevated and transformed and that we begin to find a much deeper level of relating to and feeling for the world than we can imagine in the normal course of life. According to Meditations.
This involves an elevation of our whole mental ability—in order to receive another dimension of existence into oneself. meditation. and the
. What I mean by gnostic—which comes from the Greek word gnosis or knowledge—is a knowing on a deeper level than an abstract level of knowledge can possibly convey to us. Again. and begin to experience a living power of thought. This kind of knowing is familiar to us from the whole tradition of philosophy. gnostic. The three levels of relating to existence—mystical. Divine or sacred magic means that our own will opens to become empowered by divine will. and the beautiful. The magical aspect of this relationship involves the endeavor of aligning our own will with that of the divine. receive an inflowing of light. “Philosophy” or PhilosSophia means “love of Sophia. just as a mystical aspect has to do with the opening of our hearts. In order to experience this kind of relationship we have to open our minds to divine wisdom. This gnostic aspect speaks to us of the opening of our minds. and devotional practices can expand and open our feeling life into a mystical dimension. and magical—are the essence of what was communicated and opened up to me through work on translating Meditations on the Tarot.The Sophia Teachings
how prayer. This means that everything—even every flower—is a work of divine wisdom. one that has a quality of light and clarity that speaks to us from divine realms.” and the first Greek philosophers truly loved Sophia and opened their minds to divine wisdom. the true. If we are able to embrace all three of these levels—the heart. I will refer to practices later that can help imbue our will with the higher spiritual power of sacred magic. in service of the good. the mind. The gnostic relationship to the world is expressed as a revelation of divine wisdom—that everything we see around us is actually a work of wisdom.
through Mary. This book aims to explore the exciting challenge of opening up to the Divine Sophia. it became clearer and clearer to me over time that there was a relationship between Mary and Sophia.Introduction
will—we will become whole human beings in our mental life. as well as Judaism and Christianity. Sophia—as the mother of humanity. or the guide who unfolds evolution—has revealed herself over and over again to different peoples with different traditions and religions. I can at least focus mainly on what we might call the Western Sophia tradition. Mary revealed herself to a woman under the title of the Lady of all Nations or Peoples. The chapel was built as a monument to the Virgin Mary for her seekers. and also in Amsterdam. beginning in 1945 and continuing through 1959. who can address us on all three levels—through our minds. At the chapel. and Hinduism. In these appearances. However. The Wisdom of Solomon Throughout the course of history. and in our actions. and will. that led me to want to dedicate my life to the service of Sophia. our feeling life. This I will come back to later. After the experience at the chapel. in 1980. It had been built following a series of appearances by the Virgin Mary in Amsterdam. hearts. The transformation of my life did not end with my translation of the book. I had a profound experience. Buddhism. While I cannot hope to encompass all facets of Divine Sophia in this book.
. It was two years later. I had another experience that changed my life. I will also discuss elements of the Sophia traditions in Taoism. Her presence is ubiquitous in the major spiritual traditions and religions of the world. that the Virgin Mary was in a sense a very high incarnation and embodiment of the Divine Sophia. I visited a little chapel the manuscript had talked about.
He was connected in a magical way through the building of the Temple. for he was wiser than all others. gnostic. and all the wisdom of Egypt. Born the son of King David. As we can learn through the Wisdom Books of the Hebrew Bible. As it says in the Book of Kings: God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure and breadth of mind like the sand on the sea shore. The mystical relationship of Solomon with Divine Wisdom is expressed in the following words:
. so that SolomonÕ s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the peoples of the East. of Divine Sophia. If we look at King Solomon as an archetypal seeker of wisdom. Solomon’s profound wisdom was the result of his relationship with Sophia. and wisdom. We remember King Solomon for building a majestic temple about one thousand years before Christ. the young Solomon was faced with a choice between riches. He chose wisdom. which as I have suggested was a threefold relationship. Solomon was guided and helped in building this glorious temple by the inspiration of Divine Sophia.The Sophia Teachings
The ancient provenance of Sophia is most dramatically and strikingly portrayed in the extraordinary revelations of Sophia we find in the Hebrew Bible in the life of King Solomon. health. in a mystical way through his profound love and devotion for Divine Sophia. and magical way. we can see how he was connected with Sophia in a mystical. and in a gnostic way through the extraordinary illumination and guidance that he received from Divine Sophia.
such as Solomon enjoyed. For converse with her has no bitterness. tree. mountain. we can begin a conversation with the world—one conducted on the level of the heart. his abilities are not confined only to him. Clearly Solomon rejoiced in the glory of God’s creation. Such a conversation opens the way to a mystical union with Divine Sophia. the wisdom of creation.Introduction
I loved Sophia and sought her out from my youth. and through simply becoming more and more attentive to the world around us. Here Solomon expresses his profound love of and deep feeling for Divine Sophia. every flower. I sought to take her for my bride. While Solomon was gifted with a profound love and appreciation of all that he took in from the world around him. I became enamored of her beauty. meditation. from the spiritual realms. one who accompanied him from the other side of existence. When I come into my house I find rest with her. We need only look up at the stars in the heavens on a clear night and see their incredible majesty and beauty and how the stars shine down upon us
. She became for him a mystical bride. As I have suggested. Through prayer and meditation and an open attentiveness. And in assiduous communion with her is understanding. and to which our own hearts can open and respond. We all have the ability to open our hearts to the glory of creation and the majesty of divine wisdom. Now a skeptic might ask: How can this be possible? It is possible through prayer. and he opened his heart to Sophia. of the love that weaves through the world. and lake can speak to us of Divine Sophia. but gladness and joy. And to live with her has no pain.
of receiving the light of wisdom and understanding. for I was taught by Sophia.The Sophia Teachings
to begin to open our hearts to this realm. In the case of Solomon. the cycles of the years and the constellations. by her whose skill made all things. the violent force of winds and human thought. As he says in the Book of Wisdom: A knowledge of the structure of the world. penetrate the veil of appearances. of the mind. the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots. the alternating solstices and changing seasons. It is our God-given inheritance to appreciate the world through our hearts. This is what I call the gnostic aspect of a deepened relationship to the world through opening to divine knowledge and understanding. We can understand the world around us. In these words of Solomon we see the possibility of receiving illumination from Divine Sophia. hidden or manifest. Such an impulse to push through to the deeper laws of existence motivates every scientist. and understand that there is wisdom and guidance behind all the phenomena of existence. as I have suggested. and the operation of the elements. the nature of living creatures and the behavior of wild beasts. and allow the experience to begin to speak in a profound way. The openness is not only of the heart but. I learned it all. Every human being can through this opening of the mind begin to know on a higher level than any level of abstract knowledge. the beginning and end of epochs. and their middle course. to open ourselves to everything. This also is a God-given inheritance. It is an impulse shared by us all: to
. Mysticism is not something confined to a few great people. he received divine knowledge and understanding directly from Sophia.
let us again look at King Solomon in his building of the Temple. and from your glorious throne bid her come down so that she may labor at my side.Introduction
pierce beyond the veil of appearances and discover the order and grandeur of existence. She knows and understands all things. a copy of the sacred tabernacle prepared by you from the beginning. the occurrences of the weather. Even in seemingly unrelated. who is familiar with your works. and in keeping with your commandments. This is the wisdom of gnosis or divine knowledge. The movement of the clouds. and I may learn what is pleasing to you.
. which reveals this mystery of sacred magic: You told me to build a temple on your sacred mountain. and an altar in the city which is your dwelling-place. are all expressions of wisdom. Send her forth from your holy heaven. all the phenomena of nature. who is aware of what is acceptable to you. and guard me with her glory. To illustrate what we can understand from this. With you is Sophia. In the Book of Wisdom we find a prayer of King Solomon. She will guide me prudently in whatever I do. chaotic events. What Solomon’s words illustrate is that there are divine laws that order the world around us. and was present when you created the universe. there is a profound wisdom. The Temple can be defined as a work of sacred magic—where magic is conceived of as the alignment of human will with divine will. Beyond the opening of our hearts and minds there is also the possibility of serving the divine—of aligning our own will with the higher will.
and how Sophia poured out her guidance and her blessing so that he was able to draw up his plan for this great construction. through this. Obviously. so we can take this as a wonderful example. an inspiring work here on Earth where every human being who entered it would have their inner life elevated and become aware of the mystery of the divine.
. we can align our will with the divine will. the Temple was to be a manifestation of divine will. Just as King Solomon received the light of Sophia. the warmth of her being. we need to know what the divine plan is. the faculty of divine magic is one we all have. and. This means opening up to Sophia to receive her light of inspiration. But each one of us has a part to play in the unfolding plan of evolution. Once again. and we each have the potential to align our will with that of the divine. and was guided by her in his work as the king of Israel.The Sophia Teachings
Solomon’s prayer tells us how the king turned to Divine Sophia for help in building the Temple. and her guidance. This is the work of sacred magic and this is an aspect of the new revelation of Sophia in our time—that we align ourselves with her and her unfolding of divine wisdom in the service of divine love for the fulfillment of the divine plan. find a new relationship to the unfolding of life. as I believe. Of course. The Temple of Solomon was a unique and majestic work of divine magic and a testimony to divine wisdom and love. For Solomon. If we open our hearts and minds. not all of us will be called to build a temple as Solomon was. an archetype for each one of us to find a relationship to Sophia in our time when. opened his heart to her. a new revelation of Sophia is beginning to unfold.
I was there.
. I was formed in earliest times. If we open ourselves to what is
conveyed in the Books of Wisdom attributed to Solomon. When he set the heavens in place. When he girdled the ocean with the horizon. Here are a few examples from Proverbs: The Lord created me. when he fixed the canopy of clouds overhead. I was born when there was yet no ocean. before all else that he made. before the Earth itself. then I was at his side each day. we find Sophia herself speaking as the wisdom of the creation. the first of his works long ago.Chapter One The Divine Plan of Creation
HE DIVINE PLAN OF CREATION IS NOTHING less than Sophia herself. when there were no springs brimming with water. his beloved and delight. and confined the springs of the deep. at the beginning.
The Sophia Teachings
rejoicing in his presence continually. as the Book of Proverbs cites. as the plan of creation. later on in this book. In the case of Solomon. divine wisdom. in taking the first step in the work of creation. Sophia is the embodiment of the plan of creation. We can imagine an experience such as this in the life of King Solomon—except that Solomon was touched and moved by Sophia not just at one point in his life. The teachings were directed to the Children of Israel at a specific moment in their history. we find that her message of revelation is different at different times. It is a plan where. When I was in the chapel dedicated to the Lady of all Peoples in Amsterdam. These we can conceive of as seven stages in the unfolding of creation. seven pillars in the temple of Divine Sophia. In this way. She has set up her seven pillars—seven pillars of creation. He had attained a degree of mystical. The one we call the Creator. called forth Sophia. Wisdom has built her house. but all the time. and magical union with Sophia such that she was present throughout his life. the revelation occurred when the Temple was to be built to
. It should be noted here that the Wisdom Books attributed to King Solomon reveal something about Sophia’s teachings at that particular time. I was touched and moved to the depths of my being as I experienced through Mary the Divine Sophia. if we look at the work of Sophia in the unfolding of the history of humanity. gnostic. or the seven stages of creation. Yet. Here Divine Sophia is described as being present from the beginning of the creation. while my delight was in humankind. I will talk about these seven pillars. rejoicing over the whole world. according to the people she is addressing. some three thousand years ago.
Through me princes wield authority. I follow the course of justice and keep to the path of equity. One quality that Sophia emphasizes frequently is justice. Through me kings hold sway and governors enact just laws. I bestow shrewdness and show the way to knowledge and discretion. or righteousness. In the following passage from the Book of Wisdom we hear the magnifi13
. I endow with riches those who love me. Sophia reveals herself as one who upholds justice and righteousness—something that Sophia continually urges us to pursue. and those who search for me will find me. Jr. Understanding and power am I. I believe we could look upon Martin Luther King as one who was guided by Sophia. Those who love me I love. This is one of the most important characteristics of the Sophia teachings as revealed by King Solomon. who upheld the path of justice and righteousness—so Divine Sophia can inspire all human beings who seek to fulfill what is just and righteous. From me come advice and ability. Martin Luther King. A modern example of this pursuit is Dr. Here are a few passages from Proverbs that can communicate to us something of Sophia’s teachings at that time. From me all rulers on Earth derive their rank. for instance. There are many other examples we could think of—Mahatma Gandhi in India. I am wisdom. But there are other qualities as well.The Divine Plan of Creation
house the tabernacle and to be a focus for the people of Israel in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. who followed the path of nonviolence and offered up his life to help the cause of justice.
all-powerful. kindly towards all mortals. loving what is good. clear. and her powers of understanding. pure. from age to age Sophia enters into holy souls and all those who seek her. unerring. She endows us with the wealth of her gifts. She is the radiance that streams from everlasting light. spotless. For wisdom moves more easily than motion itself. eager. of the enlightened ones. untouched by care. beneficent. Like a fine mist she rises from the power of God. we think of Buddha in India. Age after age she enters into holy souls. steadfast. and most subtle spirit. As described here. Herself unchanging. free-moving. of Zarathustra in Persia. love for beauty. yet made up of many parts: subtle. She is so pure she pervades and permeates all things. intelligence. allsurveying. a clear effluence from the glory of the Almighty. and which are a testimony to the presence and the power of Sophia as active and guiding in the unfolding of humanity’s evolution. unique in its kind. so nothing defiled can enter into her by stealth. When we think of the great teachers of humanity. of her various qualities. of the power and intelligence she is able to bestow on us when we turn toward her: In Sophia there is a spirit intelligent and holy. and the image of his goodness. She is but one. and Hermes in
. lucid. the flawless mirror of the active power of God. such as radiance.The Sophia Teachings
cence of Sophia’s being. she makes all things new. and makes them friends of God and prophets. of Moses in Israel. and permeating every intelligent. These are all qualities that holy human beings through the ages have manifested. unhampered. yet can do all things. neither harmed nor harming.
It is not a question simply of imbibing more and more knowledge. moved. All of this is a gift from Divine Sophia to humanity. who have contributed something of an aspect of the being of Divine Sophia in helping to move humanity a step further in its evolution. These are the great teachers of humanity. the healing properties of plants and the mysteries of the animal kingdom. It is Sophia who reveals to us the properties of the different precious stones. is to open up and develop our faculties and potential through spiritual work. inspired. Of course. and mineral kingdoms. the information superhighway conveys an enormous danger. but of opening up our hearts and minds to the divine—something that goes beyond access to human knowledge. and of all that radiates from every aspect of the creation. and their healing powers. what they convey to us. Yet. Modern science and technology have. or filled by Divine Sophia. Divine Sophia also casts her light of understanding upon the mysteries of human relationships. and the true relationship between humanity and the animal. The task for each and every one of us. This is especially true at
. The danger inherent in the new. brought the possibility of all human knowledge to us. plant. if we are to remain content with human as opposed to divine knowledge. of the wonder and glory of God’s creation.The Divine Plan of Creation
Egypt. In our time we have increasing need for the help and guidance of Divine Sophia. and of individuals who were guided. It is Sophia who opens up to us the mysteries of the seasons. of the relationships between Earth and the cosmos. therefore. through the computer and the Internet. and meditation. prayer. virtually unlimited access to human knowledge is that it can actually create a barrier to the opening-up to divine wisdom. We learn from Solomon that Sophia is a divine being who can speak to us of the mystery of existence.
the true. And in King Solomon we see an archetype. Divine wisdom goes beyond human knowledge. and the beautiful. to become servants of the good. when divine wisdom is beginning to draw closer and closer to humanity. human beings. whereas the acquisition of more and more knowledge will not do this. but it will not in itself open up our true humanity. more worthy. It can make us clever and intelligent. to become more radiant human beings. Demeter. to warm our hearts. I would like to refer to the story of Demeter and Persephone. through opening himself up to Sophia. we open up our own souls. Demeter and Persephone To bring out something of Sophia’s role as the ideal of motherhood. motherhood. a human being who. was worshiped in ancient Greece as Mother Earth. and to make us truly human beings. to become better. In opening up to Sophia. The word Demeter means simply Earth
. Divine wisdom is concerned that we unfold our full potential as human beings. We enter on a path of self-transformation. These qualities that I referred to earlier in quoting from the Books of Wisdom are the qualities that Divine Sophia is able to bestow upon us. In the entire history of Israel we can sense something of the flowing-in of Divine Sophia in the quality of motherhood that was striven for by the women of Israel. I shall address this issue later in the book. to strengthen our will.The Sophia Teachings
the moment. Divine wisdom has the potential to illumine our minds. Eventually it culminated in the birth of the Virgin Mary. and a wish to be a bearer of wisdom. was able to accomplish great works a thousand years before Christ. This included a true sense for the values of family. the goddess of fertility and the harvest. who represents the fulfillment of this impulse of perfect motherhood.
where she was invited to become a nurse to the king’s son. All this is part of a profound teaching. to plead with Hades. came down and saw Demeter holding the baby in the flames and became frightened. the mystery of education. Here we see again a mystery connected with the Divine Feminine. the lord of the underworld. she became filled with grief and set out to find her. of preparation. the queen of Eleusis. For what did Demeter do? She took the child and each night she held this child in the flames of the fire in order to bestow immortality upon him. who was extremely beautiful. as the regent of all life here on Earth. Moved by her deep and profound love for her daughter. king of Eleusis. Persephone. carried off Persephone into his domain. the god of the underworld. to release Persephone. This quality of love of a mother for her child comes through the inspiration of Divine Sophia. that famine would reign on Earth. of helping the human being from the moment of birth on. In this we can see something of the goal of divine wisdom. the messenger of the gods. Suddenly the earth opened up and Hades or Pluto. she dressed up as an old woman. and eventually came to the home of the Keleos. When Demeter learned of the disappearance of her daughter. Demophon. which is that all human beings will eventually become immortal. But one night. Hades
. however. In her quest. The story goes that Demeter decided she would no longer bring forth the harvest. was able to pour the fire of divine life into the limbs of this child. Metaneira. Demeter had a daughter. intervened. which we will go into later on. Demeter. One day Persephone was walking in the fields with her maidservants picking flowers. and sent down Hermes. Demeter searched everywhere for Persephone.The Divine Plan of Creation
Mother. Zeus. and at that moment Demeter’s work of creating immortality was interrupted.
The Sophia Teachings
agreed, but at the same time he broke his word when he gave a pomegranate to Persephone. Eating the pomegranate, Persephone took the seed of the underworld into herself, and was thus unable to be released from it completely. She had to spend part of the year with Hades in the underworld and the rest of the year was reunited with her mother Demeter in the upper world. The story of Demeter and Persephone has many different levels of interpretation. On one level, Persephone represents the human soul who, through incarnating upon the Earth, falls from the divine world, becomes lost in the realm of darkness, and has to be found again. Demeter, the mother, as an aspect of the Divine Sophia, calls to the human soul to lead it back from the kingdom of darkness into the light of the world of spirit. This is one interpretation of the story, which is powerful because it communicates to us the love of Sophia, as the mother of all humanity, for each and every human soul. Any human being finding him- or herself in darkness or distress can turn to Sophia, the mother of humanity, for help in recovering their divine origin. Another level of interpretation is that Demeter is the Divine Mother of everything, that she is Mother Earth, a living being, whose breath we can experience in the wind, whose circulation of blood we can experience in the movement of the streams, rivers, and ocean. She is the queen of all life here on the Earth. However, the source of her radiant life is found in the center of the Earth, so that all plants and trees grow down toward that center. The mystery teachings tell us that at the center of the Earth there is a golden realm, the kingdom of the Divine Mother. This is the kingdom known in the East as Shambhala, the lost paradise, which at the time of the Fall was lost and descended into the center of the Earth as a golden globe.
The Divine Plan of Creation
The story of Demeter and Persephone shows us that the Divine Feminine is also related to the center of the Earth and that Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, is actually an aspect of Demeter herself who descends into the depths. From those depths there radiates out the power of new life and the possibility of regeneration through establishing a relationship with the Earth Mother. We come to understand that the mysteries of the Divine Feminine, as represented in the story of Demeter and Persephone, have to do with profound secrets of evolution and the achievement of immortality. More importantly, it shows us that the Earth Mother is able to bestow immortality upon all of humanity if we find the right relationship to her. I shall explore this relationship in more detail later on. The story of Demeter and Persephone reveals a wonderful outpouring of divine motherly love for the human soul, the culmination of which, in the human realm, we find in the relationship of the Virgin Mary to her son Jesus. We recall the guidance of Divine Sophia in the history of Israel to produce the perfect human being, and that the Virgin Mary fulfilled this role as the ideal mother. Just as Demeter was trying to bestow immortality upon the child at Eleusis, the Virgin Mary gave birth and was the mother of Jesus, a savior who attained immortality through the resurrection. What was present in the story of Demeter as myth we see actualized in the life of Christ. The Virgin Mary fulfilled the role of Divine Sophia toward Christ. This brings out a whole new aspect of the Sophia teachings, namely that in the Christian tradition the ultimate goal of spiritual evolution is to be found in the mystery of the resurrection. This was personally experienced by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, and it stands as a sign that all human beings, through Christ, can achieve immortality through the resurrection.
The Sophia Teachings
So far we have looked at the example of King Solomon as an archetypal seeker of the Divine Feminine, and we have seen something of Sophia’s work in the unfolding of evolution. We might therefore ask: What was Sophia’s role in the ancient world? As divine wisdom, Sophia established her mystery centers within various religions and spiritual traditions in the ancient world. The mystery school at Eleusis honoring Demeter and Persephone is one example. There were definite rites of initiation, all of which were inspired by Divine Sophia through the archetypes of Demeter and Persephone. The mystery center at Eleusis was a source of inspiration for the Greeks and for other people who came from far and wide to experience something of these mysteries. Ancient writings make reference to the fact that for those who partook of these mysteries it was the most sublime experience of their lives. Of course, they were forbidden to speak about the actual content of these mysteries, but a few hints have come down to us. For example, the culmination in the mysteries of Demeter at Eleusis was the sublime experience of the emergence of the goddess, holding a child. We can see this as a prophetic announcement of that which later came to be fulfilled through the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus. Another significant mystery center was established at Ephesus, where Artemis as an aspect of the Divine Sophia was worshiped. At Ephesus there was an extraordinary temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, again built through the inspiration of divine wisdom. Inside the temple was a colossal cult statue of Artemis, and people came from throughout the Mediterranean and the Near East to be initiated into her mysteries. What, we may ask, was the content of initiation at Ephesus? We are told that those who entered the temple, after having prepared themselves, approached the cult statue
we see how impoverished we are through lack of turning to the Divine Feminine. Upon those who sought her. higher dimension of existence and to hear the inner sounds of the cosmos. Artemis in Ephesus. though some were initiated at Eleusis. and this is the deeper meaning and significance of occupying ourselves now with the Sophia teachings. We are now entering a new era where Sophia is attempting to become more and more part of our lives.The Divine Plan of Creation
and. as were many of the great Greek philosophers. it is important. Many of the magnificent temples in ancient Egypt were built as monuments to honor her divine wisdom. or what is often called the music of the spheres. As we stand at the beginning of the twenty-first century. that the Divine Feminine become a new power of inspiration in human affairs. We are at a very important threshold. I believe that if we are open to her divine
. even crucial. through a process of inner identification with Artemis. one that brings many challenges. The common theme among the great mystery schools of Isis in Egypt. The goddess Isis represents another aspect of the Divine Feminine that was central to the mysteries of Egypt. she bestowed the will to do good and serve the divine. Alexander the Great was initiated in the temple at Ephesus. shows that they were all part of the unfolding of Sophia’s mysteries of the Divine Feminine in antiquity. for it was she who brought the laws that governed the Egyptian people. and of course there are forces at work in the world to hinder this unfolding of the Divine Feminine. they became lifted out of themselves into an experience of the mysteries of the cosmos. Sophia has the possibility of becoming a shaping influence for civilization as we unfold into the future. and Demeter and Persephone in Eleusis. They began to experience another. If we look at our present world.
help. Sophia can increasingly become our guide and continuing source of inspiration for all that we seek to do in our lives. And for every problem that we have in our lives.The Sophia Teachings
. and inner strength. every question of destiny. we can turn to Sophia as a source of guidance.
therefore.Chapter Two Sophia in Ancient Greece
HE TROJAN WAR WAS A VERY SIGNIFICANT moment in human evolution. To understand what it reveals to us of divine wisdom we need to know how the city of Troy came to be built. founder of the city of Troy. The founding of Troy received the blessing of divine wisdom because Ilium built the city of Troy to house the sacred statue of Pallas Athena. It was a statue of the Greek goddess Pallas Athena. It was
. born from the head of her father Zeus. Legend tells us that one day Ilias. the Palladium. According to mythology Pallas. represents the goddess Athena in her warlike aspect. the companion of Athena. Greek mythology also tells us that Athena was a goddess of wisdom. When he woke up he found nearby a statue of a woman holding a shield and carrying a spear. was asleep and had an extraordinary dream that the gods were communicating with him. was killed in battle and Pallas Athena.
knowing nothing of his status as a prince of Troy. and told him to give the golden apple to the goddess he thought was the greatest. The Palladium was housed in a special underground temple guarded by vestal virgins. goddess of power. Paris’ mother had a dream that with Paris the city of Troy would be destroyed.The Sophia Teachings
said that whoever possessed the Palladium would have rulership of the world. Paris was sent as a small baby to grow up with shepherds on Mount Ida. Athena. He had fifty sons. and this was the source and seat of the extraordinary power of the city of Troy. Scholars tell us that Troy. goddess of wisdom. They agreed that a mortal should decide which of them was the greatest. being located in Asia Minor. The three goddesses appeared to Paris on Mount Ida. A sacred fire burned in this temple twenty-four hours a day. was the last citadel of ancient oriental wisdom where it reached its final crystallized form. was not to remain invulnerable. Paris handed the golden apple to Aphrodite. one of whom was Paris. goddess of beauty—as to whom among them was the greatest. and she. therefore. as the seat of wisdom. During her pregnancy. had to fulfill her promise to find him
. And yet Troy. a very beautiful young man. and Troy possessed the Palladium. This is what the Trojan War is all about. In order to avoid the fulfillment of this dream. and they chose Paris to resolve their quarrel. the wife of Zeus. How did the Trojan War begin? Priam was king of Troy around 1200 BCE. Paris grew up there as a shepherd. and Aphrodite. Athena promised him all the wisdom she could bestow on him. some distance away from the city of Troy. although we do not know the exact dates. and Aphrodite promised to find him the most beautiful woman in the world. presented him with a golden apple. One day a quarrel broke out between the three goddesses— Hera. Hera promised him conquest of many lands and undreamed of power.
of course. and decided to take revenge by sailing to Troy and recapturing Helen. This was Helen.Sophia in Ancient Greece
the most beautiful woman in the world. the Trojan War continued for ten years. the Greek wife of King Menelaus. and besieged the city of Troy. will one day ascend over the gift of power that is the gift of Hera and the gift of wisdom that is the gift of Athena. A message was attached to the Trojan horse. and sailed off with her to the city of Troy. who represents brute strength. a prophetic story. This was the first stage of the conquest of the city. They took with them their finest heroes. wisdom. The Greek kings were. outraged at this event. but withdrew only a short distance. As we know from Homer’s description. set out on a great voyage. became known as Helen of Troy. So Helen. Aphrodite visited Helen and caused her to fall in love with Paris. It seemed that the Greeks simply could not capture the city of Troy owing to the fact that Troy possessed the Palladium. Herewith the Greeks acknowledge the superiority of the Trojans. The next stage was that Odysseus thought of constructing the Trojan horse. a wooden horse huge enough to hide several Greek soldiers. The Greeks left the Trojan horse on the beach and they got into their ships and set sail. among them Achilles. whom Aphrodite had also guided to visit the palace while Menelaus was absent. and bestow this horse as a present and return to their country. Paris abducted Helen. It is. therefore. and Odysseus. When the Trojans came out of the
. Odysseus. and intelligence. the most beautiful woman in the world. who represents cunning. They raised a large army. saying. According to one version of the story. All of this points to a Sophianic theme. disguised as a beggar. came into the city and was able to capture and remove the Palladium. the gift of love. that the gift of Aphrodite.
a power of vision. who had in the meantime returned in their ships. Here we see a symbolic transition from ancient Asian culture to the new and young culture of the Greeks. the vessel for the next stage of evolution. Then they opened the city gates. were able to conquer the city and in this way recapture Helen. but on what we could call ancient clairvoyance. We find the seven sages of ancient Greece arising in Asia Minor but really being the bearers of this new culture.The Sophia Teachings
city and saw this extraordinary present they wanted to bring the horse into the city. came out from their hiding place and began to slay the Trojans. especially in the figure of Odysseus. In order to define this transition. the Trojans took the horse into the city. It points to the fact that the Greeks were to become the ascendant people. who were hidden in the belly of the horse. was based not on the power of thought. supported and guided by divine wisdom. which was characterized by active engagement of human thought and intelligence. the goddess associated with the Palladium. the Greek soldiers. and
. we can think of Sophia as the mother of both Greek and European civilization. Greek culture signified the transition from clairvoyance to rational thought. up to and including the fall of Troy. That night. Despite warnings that this could be a trick on the part of the Greeks. The rise of Greek culture and the founding of the Greek citystates took place under the inspiration of Athena. Athena was also the inspiration of the Greek philosophers. so that the Greeks. we could say that ancient oriental civilization. Why did this transition need to take place? It has to do with the evolutionary plan that each human being become independent. In this story we find that divine wisdom became allied with the Greeks. who represented a new faculty of intelligence. Therefore.
We can understand this if we recall that sometimes when we are dreaming we feel that events take place without our free initiative. decides he will slay Medusa. This is the myth of Perseus slaying Medusa. and anybody who looked at Medusa would be turned to stone. who represents the new faculty of intelligence. This meant that human beings were subservient to the gods and goddesses. and were not really able to be free and independent beings in relationship to them. what in the East is called the power of the serpent.Sophia in Ancient Greece
this is bound up with our ability to think. In the legend of Perseus. The ancient clairvoyance was a dreamlike kind of faculty that gave an ability to spiritually perceive events and behold the creative powers of existence reflected as the different gods and goddesses. In this context. or the Kundalini. we might ask. Medusa had been at one time a beautiful woman. Human freedom came about precisely through the development of thinking. Through our ability to think. Another Greek myth brings this out in a wonderful way. They could become imprisoned through not having a free relationship to the visions arising through their clairvoyance. we are free and independent human beings. what does Medusa really symbolize? I wish to argue that she is a depiction of the ancient power of clairvoyance. and consequently we feel powerless. How is
. According to this Greek legend. The snakes coming out of Medusa’s head show this ancient force of clairvoyance gone wild and having become a danger. so that any human being exposed to this force could become paralyzed in their own being. But during the course of time she developed snakes for hair. the young Greek hero. This analogy reveals something of the quality of this ancient clairvoyant faculty that all human beings possessed at that time.
represents the soul of the world. An oracle revealed to the king and queen that the only way to save their country from destruction by the sea monster Cetus. Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia. as an aspect of the Divine Sophia. Symbolically the soul of humanity. was really behind the transition in evolution from clairvoyance to the development of human intelligence and thought. a force from the depths. But. great structures such as the pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in the British Isles were built in antiquity. just as ancient clairvoyance
. goddess of wisdom. Through the constructive use of this atavistic force of the will. causing great destruction. is being threatened by an atavistic force of the will. a sea monster began to threaten the country. Andromeda was dearly loved by Cepheus and Cassiopeia. Their beautiful daughter Andromeda in a certain respect. This constituted an enormous strength of will. Here we see another indication that Athena. However. Perseus engages in battle with Medusa and in his victory he cuts off her head. and she holds up her shield so that Perseus can see the reflection of Medusa without looking at her directly.The Sophia Teachings
he going to do this when Medusa has such a terrifying appearance that just one look from her is sufficient to turn him to stone? Perseus is aided in his conquest of Medusa by Athena. Athena accompanies Perseus to the domain of Medusa. was through the sacrifice of their daughter Andromeda. king and queen of Ethiopia. like Helen of Troy. Here we see the application of intelligence to overcome the terrifying power of ancient clairvoyance. represented by Andromeda. represented by the sea monster Cetus. The transition from ancient oriental clairvoyance to Greek rational thought is further highlighted in the legend of Andromeda and Perseus. who was like an enormous whale. Walking backwards with the shield of Athena.
and turned her evil eye upon Cetus. whom Homer tells us was the key figure in the conquest of the city of Troy through the use of intelligence. because the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann was inspired and guided to the actual site where the Trojan War took place and was able to rediscover the city of Troy. At the very moment when Andromeda was bound to a rock and was about to be devoured by Cetus. is a mythological figure. Pythagoras and the Greek Philosophers One of the first Greek philosophers was Thales. an aspect of Divine Sophia. In the myth of Perseus we see the representative of the new Greek consciousness.Sophia in Ancient Greece
was a threat to the development of human freedom. in turn related to Divine Sophia. as one who uses his intelligence and his power of thought in order to be guided through life. It was he who initiated the development of Greek philosophy around the start of the sixth century BCE that culminated centuries later with Plato and Aristotle. representing the soul of humankind. We know that the Trojan War actually took place. the goddess of wisdom. we see symbolically how the love of Sophia played an important part in the emergence of Greek civilization. Thales contemplated deeply the origin of the world and the human being’s relationship to it—a
. all of this under the guidance and inspiration of Athena. of course. Here we see the use of intelligence to overcome the atavistic power of the will. The sea monster was turned to stone. In the story of the Greeks re-capturing Helen of Troy. was an actual Greek personality. whereas Odysseus. The task of saving Andromeda fell to Perseus. who was born around 624 BCE. so too this atavistic force of will was a threat to the development of independence. Perseus. Perseus appeared holding the head of Medusa.
whereas Heraclitus of Ephesus conceived of the world as having originated through the power of fire. who was present from the beginning as the divine plan of creation. We learn that Pythagoras received initiation in Babylon from Zoroaster who. Thales conceived of the world as having come into being from the substance of water. This is what gave birth to philosophy. we can see it was really love for the Divine Sophia. cleansed him of the impurities of his previous life. Pythagoras was born in the first half of the sixth century BCE on the island of Samos. philosophia. we can see that the Greek philosophers were really wrestling with these fundamental questions and did not necessarily arrive at the same conclusions. He visited Egypt. and founded a mystery school in Southern Italy. The philosopher Pythagoras was the first to call himself a philosopher and to actually use the expression philosophy. In this way. that gave birth to philosophy. I would like to focus briefly upon Pythagoras as a central figure in the Western Sophia tradition. a key figure who gathered together the threads of the ancient wisdom. known to the Babylonians as Zaratas and considered to be the wisest human being of that time. and gained entrance to receive initiation in an Egyptian temple. which he identified with the Logos. When we consider the original meaning of the word philosophy. spent many years studying under Egyptian priests. Because of this. These Greek philosophers were inspired by Sophia. carried them over into Greek culture. He then visited Babylon to receive instruction from Zoroaster.The Sophia Teachings
central question that occupied the Greek philosophers. so it is said.
. and through her divine wisdom human beings could begin to form a new relationship with Sophia through the use of the power of thought. and travelled far and wide to gather wisdom from the different traditions of the ancient world. love of Sophia.
As we can see. and different from the Egyptian priesthood. a form appropriate for human thinking consciousness. We recall that Sophia. Sophia has been the shaping influence of major transitions in human culture and evolution. as she herself indicates in the words with which she inspired King Solomon. Pythagoras is an important figure in the Sophia tradition. into a form that could be accepted. So Plato was in his own way devoted to the Divine Sophia. a form based on the principle of thinking. Thus Pythagoras was a human being who received the rich treasures of the ancient mystery wisdom tradition. one who brought this wisdom into a new form. We know very little about the content of the mysteries because Pythagoras’ followers were sworn to secrecy. This teaching of Plato is actually none other than a pointing to Sophia as the wisdom of the cosmos. Later Greek philosophers such as Plato considered themselves as continuing on Pythagoras’ path. the “idea of ideas. For him the task of a philosopher was to gain access to the world of ideas. The mystery school that Pythagoras founded was at Croton in Southern Italy. but it is clear that many cosmic mysteries were taught there. was the handmaiden or co-worker of Yahweh in the Jewish
. Pythagoras learned of the mysteries of the cosmos and returned to Greece to begin to teach these mysteries in a new way. Plato referred often to the teachings of the Pythagoreans and Plato’s philosophy itself revolved around a central concept. in the sense of Plato’s philosophy. the world of ideas.” the central wisdom from which all ideas have sprung. that is.Sophia in Ancient Greece
Through Zoroaster. and brought them into Greek consciousness in a form appropriate for the Greeks. in a way different from the oriental manner of Zoroaster and the Babylonians. We could call Sophia. a bearer of the ancient wisdom.
ethics. the fields. Aristotle in a certain respect was the founding philosopher of the Western scientific tradition. It is important to keep this in mind and see how the history of philosophy unfolds after the period of Greek civilization. biology. Plato was a truly great philosopher. For Aristotle. but with the material world and the world of nature spread out around us. This was a dramatic shift. These were the researches with which Aristotle occupied himself. the rivers. Aristotle was concerned not so much with the world of ideas. as well as the inspiration of philosophy in Greece. Aristotle was initially a pupil of Plato. We might say that Plato’s philosophy is really Sophianic mystery wisdom in idea form. If we look at the step from Plato to Aristotle we can see that another major transition took place. He was an aristocrat. These achievements would be unthinkable without the major stimulus provided by Aristotle. Thus he renounced the privi32
. astronomy. So Aristotle. They followed the philosophy of Heraclitus— an important figure in our considerations of the subsequent development of the Sophia tradition. one who absorbed into himself the wisdom of the ages. one that has led to the extraordinary achievements of Western civilization. Heraclitus lived in the city of Ephesus. this extraordinary genius of the Western scientific tradition. the teachings of Sophia from the ancient mysteries. what was important were the phenomena of nature—the clouds. but who transformed it into a philosophical form. but later developed his own philosophy and founded his own school in the city of Athens. but decided at an early age he was going to dedicate his life to philosophy. Important for our considerations of the Sophia tradition are also the Stoic philosophers. gave the impulse for the turning away from the world of ideas to the natural world.The Sophia Teachings
tradition. This too was an important step. meteorology.
Sophia in Ancient Greece
leges of his social rank, and entered into the precincts of the great temple of Artemis. He lived a hermit-like existence there and it was there he wrote his major work, Periphysion, meaning About Physics or About Nature. In this work, Heraclitus describes the Logos as the creative fire at the origin of all existence. This work for Heraclitus was a sacred task, and upon completion he brought it into the temple and laid it at the feet of the statue of Artemis. Unfortunately, we know next to nothing about the content of this work. What little we do know comes from commentaries by other people. The Stoic philosophers were greatly influenced by Heraclitus and elaborated upon his view of the Logos as the creative fire, the creative power of existence. Sophia and the Logos One central consideration of the Sophia tradition involves the relationship between the Logos and Sophia. The entire Western cultural tradition was shaped essentially by the Logos, first in terms of philosophy inspired by the Logos, and then in terms of Christianity, which considers Christ as the incarnated Logos. The questions are: What happened to Sophia? And what is the relationship between Sophia and the Logos? Let us use an analogy to characterize this relationship. Logos means Word, and if we take Heraclitus’ definition of the Logos as the creative fire present at the beginning of existence, it means that all creation came into existence through the Logos. Therefore, we can conceive of a divine Word that called all of existence into being. In order to form a conception of this we can consider the extraordinary power of sound. In the eighteenth century, the German physicist Ernst Chladni (1756–1827) demonstrated how sound vibrations form and shape particles of dust into
The Sophia Teachings
intricate shapes. We can conceive of the creative power of the Word as a form-shaping force in the whole of creation that calls forth all that we can see and experience around us in the material world. Preceding this material existence, therefore, was the creative power of the Word. This gives a picture of what Heraclitus is referring to as the creative fire of the Logos. So where is Sophia in this picture, Sophia as divine wisdom? If we consider our own power of speech, it is to be hoped that intelligence or wisdom underlies what we say. Wisdom is, therefore, closely allied with the Word. Thus, in a broader context we can conceive of Sophia and the Logos working together in the creation—Sophia as Wisdom, the plan for the shaping of the creation, and the Logos as the power, the Word that informs and infuses the entire creation. Here we have an interweaving of Wisdom and the Word that we can conceive of as two halves of one reality. We can view the Logos as the masculine creative power of fire that shapes existence, and Sophia as Wisdom, the feminine shaping vessel or plan for the creation. In this way, we can form a picture of the relationship between the Logos and Sophia. This is significant when we consider the development of philosophy in the West. In the philosophical tradition coming down through Pythagoras to Plato, the focus is more upon divine wisdom, Pythagoras having been a bridge between the ancient oriental mysteries and the new form of Sophia in early Greek culture. Whereas Plato may be seen as the philosopher who depicted the ancient wisdom in terms of the world of ideas, the central idea being Sophia. This we could call a feminine direction in philosophy. On the other hand, looking at Heraclitus, the Stoics, and Aristotle, we see that the focus is on the masculine creative power of the Word, the Logos, and how this permeates creation. Platonic and
Sophia in Ancient Greece
Aristotelian philosophy are contrasting—Plato’s philosophy is Sophianic and Aristotle’s philosophy is more related to the Logos. This is an important distinction, because the Aristotelian approach ultimately triumphed and has dominated the history of Western philosophy ever since. More importantly for our time, we find that this impulse toward the Logos is responsible for the emergence of Western science and technology. I believe that science and technology have now reached a point of crisis and that a new direction has to emerge. There has been a onesided masculine direction of development, and there needs to be a reorientation to the divine wisdom of Sophia, a turning toward what Plato calls the world of ideas. I think in the twentieth century we can see signs of this, for example in the psychology of C. G. Jung, who introduced the concept of archetypes. Archetypes are a new and modern form of expression of Plato’s world of ideas. Before tackling the problems of our modern culture we need to look at the causes for the gradual disappearance of Sophia in the West, and these can be discovered at the time of the founding of Christianity two thousand years ago. Later on we will explore in more detail how Sophia was lost or concealed. But for now, let us return to a consideration of the story of Perseus and Medusa in relation to our own time. If we trace the development of Western thought up to the present, we can see that the great achievements of Western philosophy, theology, and science lead directly to the development of twentieth-century technology. Our world has been completely transformed through the application of science to technology. And yet we can also see an enormous threat and challenge to the whole future of the planet if this one-sided, Logocentric, rational mode of
Of course. so to say. but in a metaphorical sense. As long as the computer remains our servant there is nothing to be said against it. we are in danger of losing our connection with divine wisdom. With the advent of the computer. which is a God-given. not in a literal. so in our time the computer screen becomes like the image of Medusa and could. one I believe that is to be given by Sophia through the opening-up of the qualities of the heart. because the computer signifies a mechanization of human thought. if our thinking is to remain alive. In other words. This is an enormous danger. Further. and it could happen again in our own time. If we give up our own free. symbolically speaking. But the very real danger is that the servant is beginning to occupy our thinking more and more. The warning here is that the evil eye of Medusa turned human beings to stone in the past. turn us to stone if we sit motionless for endless hours in front of it. ordering. and it is calling us urgently in a new direction. tasks of banking. creative powers of thinking and substitute the mechanical thinking associated with the computer. one that I see as a new and modern version of the Medusa myth. and therefore is beginning to take over our thought life. but rather the mechanical thinking represented by the computer that we must guard against. and so on. This situation now amounts to a crisis. creative thinking of a Plato or an Aristotle.The Sophia Teachings
relationship continues to shape our world. It is not the living. just as people of Medusa’s time were turned to stone if they gazed directly upon her face. by sitting for hours in front of the computer we risk losing our very ability to move. creative faculty. computers are extremely useful for all kinds of mechanical tasks involving calculation. Western thought-life has come almost to a dead end.
This is the great transition that humanity is to make into the future. a new seeing. made possible by Divine Sophia.Sophia in Ancient Greece
If we relived the great myth of Perseus and Medusa in our time. to a place where thinking becomes a new way of seeing. let us return to the question of how Sophia disappeared from Western culture and civilization. We can call this the thinking of the heart. This is the transition that is to take place now. a new thinking that is able to “see” in pictures. Before considering this new faculty. and it is characterized by a new and radiant faculty of thought that is made possible through opening up the heart to the inspiration of Divine Sophia. so now there needs to take place a transition from mechanical thinking to a new kind of clairvoyance. what would be the new challenge for Perseus? It would be the challenge to go beyond mechanical computer thinking with the help of divine wisdom. or Sophia.
. This will develop our new faculty of seeing in a way that does not dampen down or blot out our thinking ability but which takes our thinking a stage further. Just as three thousand years ago there was a transition from ancient clairvoyance to the rational thinking of Greek philosophy.
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and so he had a living picture of Sophia as the wisdom of the creation. through Sophia or together
. a contemporary of Christ who died in about 45 CE. he was of course familiar with the Wisdom Books of the Hebrew Scriptures attributed to Solomon. into his philosophy? Philo depicts Yahweh as the Creator whose first act is the creation of Sophia. and from the Stoics he adopted the conception of the Logos as the creative fire. As a Jew. Moreover. How did he incorporate these two. Philo had a notion of creation that included Sophia. Philo was schooled in Greek thinking. Key to an understanding of this transition is the work of the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria. Then he conceives Yahweh. Sophia from the Hebrew tradition and the Logos from the Greek tradition. or the power behind existence.Chapter Three Why Sophia Disappeared from Western Culture
HY IS IT THAT SOPHIA DISAPPEARED AS THE source of inspiration from Western culture and civilization? This has to do with the relationship between Sophia and the Logos.
In Philo’s description. as with Origen. The main thrust. one of the great Greek Church fathers. John: In the beginning was the Word. which he identifies as the Son of Yahweh and Sophia. In reading the philosophy of Philo of Alexandria it becomes quite difficult to distinguish between Sophia and the Logos. and their Son is the Logos. This was in the beginning with God. Let us look into this in more detail. describes Sophia as being identical with the Logos. the Logos. came with the identification of Sophia with the Logos.The Sophia Teachings
with Sophia. Arius was Bishop of Alexandria and he held to the notion that the Logos is a created being. For him. however. Thus. there is the notion that Sophia’s divine wisdom was imparted to the Son. This is a key factor in the disappearance of Sophia in later Western civilization. Other theologians among the Church fathers point to Sophia as being identical with the Holy Spirit. Sophia is the wisdom of the creation. and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Yahweh is the creator. Sophia and the Logos were the same being. the creation. for some of whom Sophia actually became identified with the Logos because of this similarity in the description. Crucial to an understanding of this are the words found at the beginning of the Gospel of St. In Philo’s philosophy. He identifies the cosmos. creating the cosmos. with the Logos. All
. The Arian Controversy In the early history of Christianity the clash about the identity of Sophia came to be known as the Arian controversy. the created cosmos. Philo’s ideas provided a powerful stimulus for commentary by many of the Church fathers. Origen of Alexandria.
He is not eternal or uncreated like the Father. and nothing that was made was made without the Word. and all things were made through the Logos. as Arius did. I was created at the beginning of the works of the Lord. John’s formulation confirms that he was familiar with concepts of Greek philosophy. then we can see that if one were to identify the Logos and Sophia. Athanasius held to the conviction that the Logos is not a created being. but is of the same substance as the Creator. another early Christian theologian of the fourth century. However. The Son is of one and the same substance as the Father. as John wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. and this clash of philosophical positions became known as the great Arian controversy. that the Logos was in the beginning and that all things were made through the Logos.Why Sophia Disappeared
things were made through the Word. in particular with the concept of the Logos. and compare this with Sophia’s statement in the Book of Proverbs. If we take the statement of John. Arius stated: The Son was created and established by the Father before the eons. Heraclitus of Ephesus was the source of John’s knowledge of the Logos. Athanasius fiercely opposed Arius’ teaching that the Son was created by the Father. As he wrote: The Father begets the Son but does not create the Son. It is possible that he received this idea through Philo of Alexandria. that the Logos is a created being.
. and also does not have the same manner of being as the Father. This view was fiercely opposed by Athanasius. it is also possible that. ultimately. so that the Father and the Son are inwardly connected. one could come to the conclusion. We might rephrase this statement as follows: In the beginning was the Logos. and nothing that was made was made without the Logos.
Athanasius agreed with the identification of the Logos and Sophia. Ò The Lord created me.Ó The meaning that is hidden here. the first Ò of his works. by taking the identification of the Logos with Sophia and trying to reinterpret Sophia’s own statement in Proverbs that she was created at the beginning of time. This passage cannot simply be understood as if the meaning were openly revealed. long ago. while those of
. We have also learned to read the passage in Proverbs correctly.The Sophia Teachings
Interestingly. If what is written here were to refer to an angel or to some other existing being. it is GodÕ s Sophia. one can only think that she wants to say by the words H e createdÓ Ò nothing other than H e begot. The Church fathers ultimately condemned the ideas of Arius. but arrived at a different interpretation: We have rebelled against the unreasonable and delusional conceptions of Arius. who speaks thusly of herself. long ago. Here Athanasius tries to defend his view that the Logos is not a created being.Ó Wisdom does not speak of herself Ò saying I am a cr eatureÓ but only Ò the Lord created me. however. in whom all existing things have been created. It is simply not right to call the Son a creature. and the right interpretation. the expression H e created meÓ could be used as it could with one of Ò us creatures. The Arian controversy dominated the first Ecumenical Council called by Emperor Constantine the Great in 325 CE. has to be sought.Ó The expression H e createdÓ does not Ò mean that what is referred to as created is necessarily or according to its substance a creature. the first of his works. It is written there. If.
The reason for this we find in Christianity itself. Looking back over the course of Western civilization we can begin to grasp the magnitude of the tragedy caused by this identification. So. became more and more excluded from Christian thinking. For the Greeks. she receded into the background. and when she was forgotten the ancient mystery centers dedicated to the Divine Feminine—Artemis in Ephesus. One example of this tragic loss of Sophia from Christianity is that Christianity has by and large ignored the world of nature. or Demeter. that with the coming of Christ the Divine Masculine was to be placed in the foreground. As a result. Sophia was omitted from the history of Western Christianity. and. we find that Sophia became identified with the Logos and was pushed into the background. indeed was more or less forgotten. We see here evidence of an evolutionary tendency to exclude the Divine Feminine around the time of Christ two thousand years ago. although early Christianity inherited the Old Testament Books of Wisdom relating to Divine Sophia. Demeter at Eleusis. The feminine mode of thought. Here I am referring to Christ’s teaching where he speaks of himself and the Father as being
. and now this imbalance needs to be corrected. the whole evolution of Christianity has been in the spirit of a onesided rational development that parallels the development of modern science and technology. and the mysteries connected with Isis in Egypt—that were described in the last chapter were closed down one by one. while she was not completely lost. It meant that a feeling for the Divine Feminine and relationship to the Divine Sophia was lost in Christianity. the thinking of the heart. nature was Mother Earth. In this process. because of the identification of Sophia with the Logos. namely.Why Sophia Disappeared
Athanasius triumphed and became the central teachings of Christianity. however.
the masculine side of existence. Western civilization would be unthinkable without this one-sided development. Christ’s teaching took place in the context of this patriarchal culture. He also uses the expression. In a certain respect we can understand this emphasis on the Divine Masculine that took place with the coming of Christ two thousand years ago. Aristotelian philosophy provided a strong bedrock for the later development of Christianity. over Platonic philosophy. we might say. and that he chose male disciples. Our Father. Moreover. St. We recall that the mythological world of the Greeks in antiquity gave way to a
. No-one comes to the Father but by me. Aristotle was preparing for the coming incarnation of the Logos as Christ. his message would have been rejected by the patriarchal culture of Israel. and affirmed his relationship to the divine Father. If we look at the emergence of Christianity. the central prayer of Christianity. and he teaches the LordÕ s Prayer. theological. who is viewed as the greatest Christian theologian. Thomas Aquinas. and scientific faculties. It was part of the development that we find prefigured in Greek philosophy with the transition from Plato to Aristotle. had to take place in order for Western humanity to develop its philosophical. We saw that whereas Plato directed us to the world of ideas.The Sophia Teachings
one. to the Divine Sophia. into the world of Israel. in this way. And. which starts with the words. we see that Christ came into a patriarchal society. built his whole philosophy upon that of Aristotle. Aristotelian philosophy triumphed. Aristotle focussed on the rational aspects of the Logos. It was inevitable that Christ came into a male body. If Christ had incarnated as a woman. Here we see the Logos being emphasized to the exclusion of Sophia. Why did this transition take place? One reason is that the overemphasis upon the Logos.
Mary Magdalene. we find this Sophianic side does manifest. which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. It lay concealed for long ages with God. in his letter to the Ephesians. Christ.
. He was surrounded not just by male disciples but by holy women—his mother the Virgin Mary.Why Sophia Disappeared
conception of the one divine being. Here and there. On the other hand. A couple of passages in the New Testament attest to this. the Logos. and other holy women. he has granted the privilege of proclaiming to the Gentiles the good news of the unfathomable riches of Christ and the bringing to light how this hidden purpose was to be put into effect. which was in a more profound sense about the balancing or marriage of the masculine and the feminine. who am less than the least of all GodÕ s people. in order that now through the church the wisdom of God in its infinite variety might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. However. who incarnated upon the Earth for the Earth’s transformation and redemption. the creator of the universe. her sister Martha. however. St. These women provide an important clue to Christ’s deeper message. we find that he himself also embodied these feminine qualities. This accords with his age-long purpose. causing the Sophianic side of existence to fade into the background. The activation of human will and intelligence to participate in this work of redemption took place at the expense of the more feminine qualities of the heart. Paul refers to divine wisdom when he says: To me. For example. the context of his teaching necessitated bringing forth the masculine side. if we look at the actual teachings of Christ.
The Sophia Teachings
This text proclaims a personal experience of Sophia. It refers to the unfathomable mystery of divine wisdom kept secret by the Creator but which through Christ was revealed. However, the most significant reference to Sophia is found in Chapter Twelve of the Book of Revelation. Here, John speaks of a great sign appearing in the heavens of a woman clothed by the Sun, with the Moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. This is a dramatic image of Divine Sophia as the wisdom of the cosmos who embraces all the stars and planets, the Sun and the Moon, and who shines from the cosmos as the World Soul. We find this idea taken up by the neo-Platonists who spoke of Sophia as the World Soul or the soul of the cosmos. This is a true definition of Divine Sophia. Our examples show that there are references, even within Christianity, to Sophia, but that these are few and far between. Generally speaking, they were gradually lost from the main current of Christianity. On the other hand, outside of Christianity—I have referred already to the Neo-Platonists—there was still a conception of Sophia as a living being, where the ideas of Sophia broke through. In the later tradition, we find that they occurred in a more or less mystical context. The Virgin Mary and the Female Followers of Jesus It is quite clear that the incarnation of the Logos as Christ was the stimulus for a major transition in human evolution; but this transition was also brought about by Divine Sophia. Part of the mystery of Christ’s incarnation as the Logos presupposes the incarnation of Sophia as a parallel event, but one that signified the holding-back of Sophia in order to allow the Logos to come into the foreground. If we look at the actual events taking place around the
Why Sophia Disappeared
Christ, we find that Sophia is truly represented on the one hand in the figure of the Virgin Mary, and on the other hand by Mary Magdalene and her sister Martha who were close companions of Jesus. If we wish to grasp the deeper significance of the Sophianic element surrounding and accompanying the life of Christ, we must look at the special relationship between Jesus and these holy women. Primarily, we must focus on the Virgin Mary, his mother, who embodied the qualities of the divine wisdom of Sophia. She was a being of extraordinary purity whose heart was fully open, who could read the thoughts of those around her, and who was the life and soul of the community of disciples gathered together by Jesus Christ. Mary was open on the one hand to the people around her, in silent knowledge of what was taking place within them, and on the other hand she was open to the cosmos and also to the Earth. The Virgin Mary embodies the qualities of a heartfelt awareness of our fellow human beings, a sense of connectedness with the whole cosmos, and of unity with the Earth. In this respect the Virgin Mary was a forerunner, a model for future humanity, for she embodies the very qualities we need to develop in the future. We find that different attributes of the Divine Feminine are represented by the other women close to Jesus. Mary Magdalene and Martha were the sisters of Lazarus, a wealthy man who lived in Bethany, which was close to Jerusalem. There are great mysteries connected with the fact that Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and Martha each related to a different aspect of Christ’s being. As is also the case with the Virgin Mary, we might describe Lazarus as the spiritual companion of Jesus. It was he who was raised from the dead by Christ in order to fulfill a great mission. Mary Magdalene might be seen as the soul companion of Jesus, for she was the human being who
The Sophia Teachings
beheld him at the time of the resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. When she entered the garden containing the Holy Sepulchre, Mary Magdalene beheld someone. She first thought he was the gardener and then realized that this was her Master who had risen from the dead. The appearance of the risen Christ to Mary Magdalene after the crucifixion indicates something of the profound relationship between them. Thirdly, Martha was the one who attended to the physical needs of Jesus and the community of disciples. She was active in helping them, in caring for them, and making sure the necessities of life were available. Here again we can see aspects of the Divine Sophia shining through with the Virgin Mary as a complete embodiment of Divine Sophia on a spiritual level, with Mary Magdalene on the soul level, and with Martha on the bodily level. It is a central element of the Sophia teachings to grasp these three aspects of Divine Sophia as they relate to humanity. Jesus Christ, the incarnated Logos, points to the Father, but through his relationship to the holy women around him he is bringing to expression the relationship of the Logos to Sophia, the Divine Feminine. In his teaching and deeds it is implicitly shown that there is an intimate interweaving taking place all the time between the Logos and Wisdom, between Christ and Sophia. One example of this is the first miracle performed by Jesus, described in the Gospel of St. John, where he changed the water into wine for the wedding of Nathanael of Cana and his bride. Jesus and his mother and many of the disciples had been invited to the wedding in the little town of Cana, northeast of Nazareth, and, as described in the Gospel of St. John, Jesus had the responsibility for providing the second course of wine after the celebratory meal. John describes how, after the first course of wine, Mary reminded Jesus that he was respon48
And although Sophia. and this guidance can be likened to a stream of living water flowing down through the ages. The entire history of the people of Israel was through its kings and prophets guided by Divine Sophia. Christ brought down the fire of divine love into the water of wisdom. and in this magical act we can see the mystery of the interweaving between the Logos and Sophia. he performed the miracle of turning the water into wine. and has been the inspiration for Western humanity down through the ages and into our present time. We can also interpret this miracle in the following way. we are entering a New Age in which the impulse of Divine Sophia. or the Divine Feminine. I would like to reiterate. The water symbolizes the water of life being transformed into wine through the power of divine love represented by the Logos. The miracle of turning the water into wine is thus a symbol of the cosmic interweaving of wisdom. Christ. faded into the background of Western culture. The incarnation of the Logos as the power of divine love comes into this stream of wisdom and transforms it into wine. The entire life of Jesus is an expression of this interweaving of divine love and divine wisdom. The aspect of divine love borne by the Logos moved into the foreground. and the Logos. All those who drank of this wine were filled with the power of divine love and were united in the community in which they recognized Christ as the Chosen One. having been held back over the last two
. Jesus then gave the command that six vessels of water were to be fetched and. Mary’s reminder to Jesus reveals something of the guiding quality of Sophia. she nevertheless plays an integral part in the plan of evolution. Sophia. Now. however. after blessing the water. through Mary addressing the Logos in Jesus. for it is fundamental to our time.Why Sophia Disappeared
sible for the second course of wine.
and in the Greek and Egyptian mysteries. We have considered the inspiration and guiding power of Divine Sophia in human affairs as far back as King Solomon in antiquity. one who was preparing the way for the incarnation of the Logos. is to come into the foreground again. cares for. and to let divine wisdom begin to speak to us again. and Christ is the one who actually embodied the divine power of love and compassion to which Buddha was referring. to become the inspiring. but held herself back in order to allow the voice of the Logos to sound in full strength through the mystery of its incarnation in Christ. we realize that when her child comes of age the mother must stand back and allow the child to stand alone. guiding voice in human hearts now and in the future. We need to allow this wisdom. inspiring different religions and spiritual traditions as the ageless or perennial wisdom. In the overarching plan of evolution we can see that Divine Sophia was ever present. We recall that at that momentous time. because Buddha brought the teaching of living out of compassion. preparing the way with different groups of human beings in different parts of the Earth that would eventually all come together in the central event of Christ’s incarnation.The Sophia Teachings
thousand years. Sophia held herself back. Augustine confirms this when says of Plato that he was a “Christian” in pre-Christian times. What does this really signify? If we liken it to how a mother loves. to
. St. In tracing her influence we come to the conclusion that Sophia’s work in antiquity was largely to prepare the way for the great event of Christ’s incarnation. which has been held back for so long. Even in Buddhism we can see a preparation for this event. Then we saw how Sophia revealed herself in the founding of Christianity. The challenge of our time is to welcome Divine Sophia into our lives. Throughout the ages she has been ever-present. and educates her child.
not surprisingly. During the life of Jesus. we can say that Sophia held back at that moment in time waiting for the emergence of the divine self of humanity to
. and creativity of thinking have been the hallmarks of Western culture. We are at the threshold of the coming of age of humanity. due to the imbalance this one-sided rational development has caused. Christ is the divine Self. but Christ in me. independence. What does this age signify? It signifies the birth of our true identity. the divine I AM. it is now time for Divine Sophia to speak once again. Christ’s incarnation signified the beginning of a new astrological cycle. this coming of age was clearly prefigured in the incarnation of Christ as the Logos. Paul: Not I. They have been the heady source of breathtaking scientific and technological advances.Why Sophia Disappeared
become free and independent. who came to the world to be born into each human being. Thus. And. our true ego in the sense of a divine ego. However. The cosmological aspects of the Sophia teachings reveal that with the twenty-first century we have the beginning of the inpouring of the Divine Feminine as the world-transforming power of the future. For now. We find this conveyed in the words of St. We will focus on this in more detail in Chapter Nine. The incarnation of Christ signifies that the particular moment of evolution had been reached which truly represented the coming age of humanity. Sophia was present and manifesting subtly through the Virgin Mary and the holy women around him. it was toward the end of the Age of Aries. but she held back in order that the divine I AM could be the primary influence upon humanity for the next two thousand years. In the context of the Sophia teachings. approaching the start of the Age of Pisces. freedom. In fact. for the past two thousand years. All the mysteries connected with the life of Christ have to do with this turning point in time and the coming of age of humanity.
Divine Sophia will be the guiding power and inspiration for the next major transition in humanity’s evolution. and offer the possibility of bringing the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine into balance within each human being. The great promise of our time is that. free and independent. with our cooperation.or herself as a divine being. In our modern times her guiding influence will redress the imbalance caused by the one-sided rational and scientific development. so that each human being could begin to find him. This is the threshold in time that we have reached now at the beginning of the twenty-first century. when a new inflowing of the Divine Feminine is taking place. But just as every mother. longs for and treasures the time when her offspring will return to find a new relationship with her on a higher level. the comforter and caring mother of humanity. Divine Sophia can speak to us again in a new way but on a higher level than in antiquity when she was. in her ageless wisdom. so it is Sophia’s hope. that her “children” will find a new relationship to her and will enter into connection with her being in a new and creative way.The Sophia Teachings
become active. as the mother of humanity. in releasing her offspring into the world at their coming of age.
In other words. in the 2000 years since the birth of Christ. when. St. there were certain individuals who experienced Sophia as the mother of humanity in the period after the birth of Christ and before the New Age beginning in the twentieth century. However. St. the Logos moved into the foreground and influenced the central teachings of Christianity. albeit a hidden one. In the twentieth century there began a new inflowing of the divine wisdom associated with Sophia. generally speaking in a hidden way. as has been stated. So we can speak of a Sophia tradition. Augustine plays an important role because among the Church fathers he was the one most occupied with Sophia.Chapter Four The Influence of Divine Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
ET US LOOK NOW AT THE COURSE OF THE SOPHIA teachings in the historical period following the incarnation of Christ. manifestations and actual revelations of Divine Sophia have occurred here and there. Augustine was
. Let us bring forward the names of significant individuals who contributed to this Sophia tradition.
the Christ. who was born in 1098 and died at the age of eighty-one in 1179. whom St. and experiences no difference of time and is not extended in time. In the Middle Ages. but something quite different from you. eternal in heaven. who was created at the beginning of the Creation. In his writings he distinguishes between two Sophias. For she is bound to God with a great love. Hildegard of Bingen. where he speaks of created Sophia in an individual and personal way: This Sophia is from you. He also says that she is the pure and most harmoniously single mind: The place of peace of blessed spirits in heaven and above the heavens. Augustine. St. divine wisdom. the uncreated Sophia. Although we do not find temporality in her. Elsewhere St. The other is the created Sophia. nevertheless she is able to change. Augustine considers to be the Logos. Augustine’s distinction is one that has influenced many subsequent theologians and prominent figures in Christian history. she is not constrained by transitions in time. Although she is not equally eternal to you. Augustine refers to created Sophia as: Our mother Jerusalem who is above and free. Let me highlight one passage from St. and that the created Sophia is the illuminated light. O God. St. we find a remarkable and extraordinary revelation of Sophia through St. the begotten Son of the Father. Associated with Bingen
. but instead rests in eternal contemplation of your being. But she does not do that.The Sophia Teachings
born in 354 CE in Africa and died in the year 430 CE. one of whom is the uncreated wisdom. whereby she could turn away from God. Augustine held that the uncreated Sophia is the illuminating light of existence.
today there is something of a renaissance of interest in Hildegard of Bingen. which have been published in more recent times. her references to the therapeutic properties of precious stones. Although she was of weak physical constitution. and had profound influence in the areas of religion. The voice continued:
. St. this did not deter her from travelling around to meet her contemporaries and having correspondence with many significant individuals of her time. and medicine of the twelfth century. Sometimes she combined both aspects. These include her thoughts about medicine. in Germany. Hildegard heard a voice saying: With Sophia I have rightly put the universe in order. Hildegard says this of Sophia in the Book of Divine Works: And I saw within the mystery of God a wondrously beautiful image. It had a human form and its countenance was of such beauty and radiance that I could have more easily gazed at the sun. Sophia was on the one hand the mother and soul of the world. and recordings of music she composed. For Hildegard. science. Among St. and later assumed the post of head of her monastery. She became a nun. In fact. Hildegard was from early childhood aware of being surrounded by divine light and was able to see beyond the natural world into heavenly realms of existence. Accompanying her vision. and as a result numerous books are currently available about her work. Hildegard’s most powerful and inspiring visions were those of the Divine Sophia. She had contact with popes and kings. and on the other hand she saw Sophia as the bride of Christ and the mother of the Church.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
near the Rhine.
The firmament is the throne of all beauty. God furnished all this beauty for the divine glory as it was preordained in wisdom. She is known to be worthy of love by all the saints because they can never become weary of gazing at her dear form.The Sophia Teachings
For what you see in GodÕ s mystery as a marvelously beautiful figure similar to a human being signifies the love of our heavenly Father. Sophia in the Middle Ages and Beyond Very often the question is raised whether Sophia is an attribute of God as Divine Wisdom. Since she washes her garments. All of SophiaÕ s decrees are gentle and mild. whenever they become sullied. I think it emerges quite clearly that Sophia is a being. Creation was SophiaÕ s garment because Sophia clothes her own achievement in the same way as we human beings wear clothes. Both sun and moon are an adornment of wisdom. if we study the actual words and indications of Sophia in the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament. in the blood of the merciful Lamb. a personification of God’s wisdom. Some think that the words of Sophia in the Books of Wisdom from the Old Testament show her to be Lady Wisdom. On this account the countenance is of such beauty and splendor that you can more easily gaze at the sun than at it. Hildegard says: God has established the firmament in wisdom and secured it by power of the stars. In another of her visions St. However. who addresses humanity. Therefore Sophia should be loved more than all the beauty of creation. or whether she is an actual person. We can summarize the Wisdom Books as leading to an understanding of
as a person. she is described as dancing before God. Here we see Sophia sitting on a royal throne in the center. Sophia is depicted as queen of the seven liberal arts— grammar. and astronomy. With respect to humanity. As we recall. arithmetic. there are many depictions of Sophia as an actual being in the art of the Middle Ages. and beloved. from around the twelfth century. even if interpretations about her have varied. A stream of water pours from each side of her body. For example in Herrad von Landsberg’s work. surrounded by the seven liberal arts.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
Sophia as a person in that in the Holy Scripture she is proclaimed as a spiritual nature with the qualities. and ruling everywhere with reason. some theologians identified her with the Logos and others identified her with the Holy Spirit. The Garden of Delights. However. and functions of a person. teacher. She is different from God and acts independently with respect to God. power. Furthermore. has often understood Sophia as a person. and goodness. geometry. the Christian tradition. from the Church fathers to the present. renewing. rhetoric. Moreover. leading. For example. In addition to the testimonies of mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen and Jakob Boehme. With respect to the creation she is depicted as guiding. she is described as being created female. The
. and assisting us as mother. Below her are the philosophers Plato and Aristotle. the testimonies of mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen and Jakob Boehme make it quite clear that they had a direct. dialectic. music. attributes. She advises God and she actively participates in the work of creation with God. she is described as admonishing. the recipients of the living water of Sophia’s wisdom. such as having reason and free will. Their testimony bears witness to Sophia as a person and not simply as a personification of divine wisdom. living experience of Sophia as a being.
Jakob Boehme was born in 1575 the son of a poor farmer living in a little village near Gorlitz in the region of Germany then known as Schlesia. Jakob Boehme was deeply religious. and into questions which had troubled him for some time. opened a cobbler’s shop. young Jakob felt himself bathed in a supernatural light and a blessed sense of peace that lasted for seven days. He learned the cobbler’s trade and became a journeyman apprentice. Boehme returned home around 1594. and the depiction of Sophia as the patron or queen of the seven liberal arts is something very significant. Boehme had a number of visions and realizations that further
. which was customary at the time. with whom we can have communication and a relationship. The experience of injustice and evil weighed heavily on his sensitive nature and stood in the background of the mystical experiences that began during this period of his life.The Sophia Teachings
seven liberal arts are depicted as women positioned around Sophia’s inner circle. for here again we find a powerful and extraordinary testimony to Sophia as a divine being existing in spiritual realms. We will return to this theme later. and shortly thereafter married a woman from Gorlitz who bore him four sons. He was brought up in the Lutheran faith at a time when Protestant theology was dominant. Even as a youth. this proved to be difficult for him on account of his mystical inclinations. Around 1600 he had a second mystical experience while watching the splendid glow of sunlight on a pewter jug. After this second experience. In such works we see that artists also had their experience of Divine Sophia. During his first mystical experience. However. It seemed to Boehme that he became aware of forces active within the jug that gave him insight into the foundation of things. Let us now focus upon Jakob Boehme’s visions and experiences of Sophia.
She dwells in pious souls. but. and this resulted in his first work. Sophia is the exhalation or out-breath of God’s power. and he ascribes to her seven qualities or characteristics— keen. and is the friend. soft. This particular mystical experience took place when Boehme was under personal attack during his years of silence. Boehme writes: I rely upon her faithful promise when she appeared to me that she wanted to change all my sorrow into great joy. and he was forbidden to write of his experiences. Aurora. Jakob Boehme’s visions and mystical experiences also brought him much grief and suffering. and teacher to those who seek her in the
. mistress. in 1619. and persuasive. He continued composing works until the end of his life. clear. Boehme indicates that his knowledge of Sophia increased after this vision. serious. who branded him as a heretic. bride. He was attacked from the pulpit by the Lutheran pastor of Gorlitz. One of Jakob Boehme’s most significant visions was that of an appearance of the Divine Sophia. Boehme honored this prohibition for some years. she came to comfort me and wedded herself to me. urged on by his friends and by his own inner voice. he began to record his visions once again. She is God’s mirror and the image of God’s goodness. betrothed. He remained silent about these visions until a third experience around 1610 seemed to unify everything. For Boehme.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
deepened his insight. which can be translated as Rising Dawn. Although a source of enormous consolation and blessing. pure. At this point he began to record his experiences and visions. firm. As I was prostrate upon the mountain around midnight and many kinds of storms engulfed me.
Due to his inspiring visions that testify to the Divine Sophia.The Sophia Teachings
appropriate manner. Boehme refers to Sophia as the true friend. Sophia is the mother of all creatures. is that of a decorous virgin in the likeness of the Trinity. In another passage he writes: The figure of GodÕ s wisdom. he was someone who allowed his heart and mind to open to Sophia and to receive her instruction. Sophia is truly his spiritual friend and bride. For she is a being of the Spirit. the one who is able to enter into conversation with his soul. and they powerfully
. and everything that lives and grows. the stars. otherwise His form would not be known. contained as if in a single image. His works bear witness to the tremendous inspiration and presence of Divine Sophia. the elements. Throughout his writings. we see that Jakob Boehme was blessed with the grace of a revelation of Divine Sophia. For Boehme. the matrix in which are heaven. She is the source of joy and pure desire and is sent by God to mediate between God and humanity and to help and comfort all. Sophia. like a flower growing out of GodÕ s Spirit. She gives immortality to those who unite themselves with her. As with Hildegard of Bingen. an image similar to that of the angels and human beings. Jakob Boehme has become known as the father of Sophiology in the West—Sophiology being the science of Sophia. the Earth. like a garment with which He reveals Himself. mother and teacher. which with the beginning of the first movement in God was formed into creatures. In this eternal mirror of the wisdom of God (Sophia) is also beheld the soul of humanity in its essence.
Mary. and the great Idealist philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) were all inspired through reading the works of Jakob Boehme. and even extended all the way to Russia. In Germany we find that Gottfried Arnold. including John Pordage and Jane Leade in England. In fact Boehme’s writings served as a seed impulse that had great influence not only upon the German cultural tradition. the poet Novalis. He declared: Sophia was above all chosen. and sent to unite with Mary and to strengthen her. [was] the earthly virgin who attracted the beautiful heavenly virgin Sophia. Boehme was perhaps the first to have the intuition of an incorporation. His testimony has nonetheless inspired numerous individuals since that time to turn to Divine Sophia. understanding the unfolding of the Sophia tradition in our time would be impossible without taking into account the great contribution of Jakob Boehme. was also inspired and influenced by Jakob
.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
convey this quality of inspiration to others. the great Russian philosopher and founder of Sophiology in Russia. but that crossed over to England. so that she was capable of becoming the mother of the incarnating Logos. although it’s unclear whether or not they adopted this idea from Boehme. The relationship between Sophia and the Virgin Mary is something that became of central importance for the Russian Sophiologists. of the Divine Sophia in Mary. an ornament to the most blessed heavenly virgin. One key element in Boehme’s teaching of Sophia concerns the profound relationship existing between Sophia and the Virgin Mary. In fact. Vladimir Solovyev. or perhaps even incarnation. Lastly.
she received the stigmata. Because she had received the stigmata. Emmerich had a vision confirming the coming of one whom she described as the pilgrim. many spiritual seekers from all over Germany visited her. she recognized him as the one from her vision.The Sophia Teachings
Boehme. but she received a continual stream of visions concerning the lives of Christ and Mary. who was so deeply impressed by what he experienced in her presence that he decided to give up what he was doing and move from Berlin to be near her and record her visions. Later. She is a great source of inspiration to me personally because her visions convey in a remarkably pure way the essence of the life and work of Christ and Mary. and wrote down her visions. She was a contemporary of Goethe and Beethoven at a time of an extraordinary flourishing of German culture. From this time onward she was confined to her bed in extraordinary suffering. I have been
. She ate hardly anything. Anne Catherine Emmerich One of the most gifted clairvoyants of all time was Anne Catherine Emmerich. During this work together. Anne Catherine Emmerich began to receive visions day by day describing the life of Christ. at the age of thirty-eight. a shining beacon in the Sophia tradition. the German Romantic poet. At an early age. Thus we can see that Boehme is a central and key figure. When Clemens Brentano arrived. existing on the Host and water. and he indeed remained with her. Anne Catherine Emmerich was born in 1774 and died in 1824. Among them was Clemens Brentano. who bears witness in her works to Divine Sophia and her relationship with the Virgin Mary. Anne Catherine Emmerich joined the Augustinian order. as had been prophesied.
his baptism in the Jordan. they were able to trace the exact location of this house. It is a place where one feels that the heavens are open. in which. as I did in 1996. according to Anne Catherine Emmerich.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
able to show that Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions are by and large authentic and they provided the basis for my research into determining the chronology of the life of Christ. was made solely on the basis of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions describing its location. the feeding of the five thousand. Two Lazarite priests. The house has been reconstructed according to the visions received by Anne Catherine Emmerich. decided that they would conduct a search for the house of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus. This discovery. On account of the precise description furnished by Anne Catherine Emmerich. can experience the truly blessed quality in surrounding nature. and it is thanks to Clemens Brentano that we have them in written form. the death of the Virgin Mary and her ascension into heaven took place. From this standpoint alone it is clear that Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions constitute a remarkable gift to humanity. Her visions enabled me to determine the date of his birth. and it is now a center of pilgrimage visited by people from all over the world. where a divine feminine presence streams in
. To highlight the remarkable power of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s clairvoyance I must mention the historic discovery of the Virgin Mary’s house near Ephesus in Turkey. that took place in 1891. All of this research enables us to have a new understanding of the Gospels and of the work of Jesus Christ set in temporal and geographical context. Anyone who visits Ephesus. Archeological investigations show that the remains of the house they discovered date back to the first century. who had read the account in her vision. and the extraordinary outpouring of love that greets one when entering this little house. and many other events.
A few passages from the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich highlight this description of the pre-existence of Sophia in relation to the Virgin Mary. prayed that it might rain. There had been a drought in Israel for three and a half years and Elijah. entered into the soul of the Virgin Mary.
. on Mount Carmel. The head of this virgin was encircled with rays. From this we can also gain a feeling for Divine Sophia as a pre-existent being who. like a pearl in its shell. She stretched her arms out in the form of a cross and had a triumphal wreath hanging from one hand. I saw how this cloud divided into different parts and fell in eddying showers of crystal dew on certain holy and consecrated places inhabited by devout men and by those who were praying for salvation. The first passage refers to an event involving the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. a wonderful spring of holy water issues forth. Also in the vicinity.The Sophia Teachings
as a power of blessing. She appeared as if hovering above the whole Promised Land in the cloud as it spread even further. Eventually a little cloud appeared above the Mediterranean. These are the words of Anne Catherine Emmerich: In this little cloud I saw from the first a little shining figure like a virgin. I saw these showers edged with the colors of the rainbow and the blessing take shape in their midst. at a certain moment in time. Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions provide the most extensive description of the Virgin Mary that has ever been revealed to humanity.
the mother of the Virgin Mary: In this same instant I saw Our LadyÕ s holy mother raise herself on her couch surrounded by light. like a great shining mountain. Anne. Another vision concerns the incarnation of the Virgin Mary: I had a vision of the creation of MaryÕ s most holy soul and of its being united with her most pure body. For I saw that while this brightness took human form. Then I saw this brightness standing separate before the face of God.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
In this vision we have an image of Sophia as the bestower of blessings upon those who turn toward her. yet it was by the will of God that it received a form so unspeakably beautiful. as a being who incarnated
. In the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich we have also a testimony to Sophia as the wisdom of God. Emmerich then describes the descent of this beautiful soul into the womb of St. In the glory by which the most holy Trinity is usually represented in my visions I saw a movement. or rather being shaped. I saw too that God showed the beauty of this soul to the angels and that they had unspeakable joy in its beauty. I saw something rise out of the midst of this figure towards its mouth and go forth from it like a shining brightness. and at the same time it is a presentiment of the incarnation of the Virgin Mary. and had a vision of her womb opening like a tabernacle to enclose a shining little virgin from whom mankindÕ s salvation was to spring. turning and shaping itself. She was in ecstasy. and yet also like a human figure.
and put up in a hotel in Cairo. Solovyev had a second vision of Divine Sophia. a clarity of light. and also bestowed blessings upon the holy men and women of Israel. in his quest to understand the vision of the Sophia he had had at the age of nine. It was here in Egypt that he had his third and greatest vision of Divine Sophia. On Ascension Day in 1862 Solovyev had a profound vision of the Divine Sophia. who was born in 1853 and died in 1900. A few years after the death of Anne Catherine Emmerich.
. Solovyev. while studying in the British Museum. “Go to Egypt. and an intensity of purpose and direction that makes him one of the most outstanding philosophers of the modern age. While attending the liturgy in the university chapel in Moscow. He was only nine years old. among them the writings of Jakob Boehme. With Solovyev we find a human being whose thinking is heart-inspired. made preparations. Divine Sophia is the central idea in Solovyev’s philosophy. imbued with a warmth of humanity. This mystical experience was a powerful incentive for the young man to pursue a path of spiritual study that led him many years later to study in the library of the British Museum in London. in which the face of Sophia appeared to him and he heard the words.The Sophia Teachings
into the Virgin Mary. One day. the heavens suddenly opened and a majestic feminine figure wrapped in azure blue appeared to young Vladimir.” He followed the instruction from Sophia. travelled to Egypt. It was here that he immersed himself in many religious and spiritual works. accomplished much in his short life in bringing Sophianic philosophy to the Russian people. the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyev emerged as the great prophet of the Sophia tradition in Russia.
to me!Ó O n to Egypt!Ó echoed Ò within me. And lo. Black was the star-twinkling night.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
Solovyev describes his three mystical experiences of Sophia in a poem he wrote towards the end of his life. Turin. O n to the desert! I await you!Ó Ò Thus day found me wandering towards the desert. in nightÕ s stillness. as once to the child. All was silent. and reveal all of yourself. mattering little. In the
. from the city of my birth. Radiant light. My heart was full. without doubting. a reflection of heavenÕ s radiance was all around. In Cairo I found welcome. The precious image of my eternal Friend. hear my plea. soon I was in a train for Paris. Soon I embarked from Brindisi through the waves bound on a British steamer to the land of the Nile. Springtime broke from the morning skyÕ s purple glow and there you were. still and deep. Everything flew past. but only your countenance heavenly radiant. I saw all. Referring to the appearance of Sophia to him in the library at the British Museum. Solovyev wrote: I said to her. O eternal Friend. from Moscow too. Ò Yes I saw you. unconcerned about provision. Bari. a new radiance shining in your eyes like dayÕ s light at dawnÕ s creation. Russians were there a-plenty. Was it recklessness to act? No matter. Watching all the while for her sign. The sun was sinking and duskless darkness followed. she gently wafted through my room. Lyons. Ancona. your words do not deceive. and all was one. Listening.
and in the twentieth century there finally emerged an ecumenical movement toward unity. He was also a great poet. who described Sophia in the following way: As the living center or soul of all creatures. of the age that is beginning in the twenty-first century. the age of the inflowing of the Divine Feminine. Solovyev was a great prophet of the New Age.
. And yet in an instant. but in the morning light I heard within the echo of distant bells. She includes the manifoldness of living souls. came to birth in Russia through Russian Orthodox priests who took up Solovyev’s work and carried it further. Sadly.The Sophia Teachings
desert I saw all of you. Solovyev’s dreams did not materialize. Solovyev was not only a great philosopher. He was dedicated to teaching philosophy to the Russian people. as a true friend of Sophia. So his work was not in vain. his great impulse to work for peace and unity among all Christians lives on. and he felt that through Sophia there could be a reunification between East and West. and to working for the reunification of the Eastern and Western Churches. this happiness will not fade away. Solovyev inspired many in Russia. during his lifetime. Through him the tradition now known as Sophiology. Solovyev believed it was a scandal for Christianity that the Church was divided. Solovyev’s great vision of Divine Sophia in the Egyptian desert became the central motivation and impulse for his whole life’s work as a philosopher. all was gone. among them poets and theologians. However. Wherever fate may lead me. Stillness was in the desert. and he was disappointed in his labors. On the horizon was rising the sun. the science or the theology of Sophia.
only her. her alone. Solovyev writes: If the soul of the world were to stop unifying everything through herself. my heart stopped beating. and causality. Seeing her alone.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
She is all of humanity together in one. connect. My queen all bathed in radiance. Her task is to mediate and unify the manifoldness of living creatures. Rejoicing. All earthly desire vanished. which creates and directs space. In his description of Sophia as the soul of the world. time. She possesses a higher divine part. here is a short poem about Sophia entitled “Today I Saw Her”: Today I saw her with my eyes. A miracle divine. and direct everything. This happened at the golden light of dawn. and the organism of the world would transform itself into a mechanical mass of atoms. Solovyev saw Sophia as the soul of the world. The union of the cosmos would fall apart into a multiplicity of individual elements. all created beings would lose their common relationship. having three aspects. She is ideal humanity. a lower earthly part. or the soul of the world. and a middle part. containing all individual living creatures or souls and uniting them through herself.
. who constitute the actual content of her life and the absolute unity of God. Lastly. which allow her to unify.
a great philosopher and poet. A spiritual practice that I have found immensely helpful in this regard was taught by the spiritual teacher I mentioned in the Introduction—Valentin Tomberg. we can see a turning point. Divine Sophia continued to reveal herself to certain chosen individuals culminating with Vladimir Solovyev in the nineteenth century. In the next section of the book. Petersburg in 1900 and died on the island of Majorca in 1973. because Divine Sophia is now able to form a personal relationship with each and every human being in the unfolding of her revelation of the New Age.The Sophia Teachings
Vladimir Solovyev is the last great nineteenth-century herald in the Sophia tradition extending from St. the Russian author of the manuscript I translated. the first century of a new millennium. Now. And we have seen that. despite holding back from mainstream Christian development over the past two thousand years. Valentin Tomberg was born in St. Vladimir Solovyev’s life and work stands as an inspiring example to us all. A Spiritual Practice to Invoke Divine Sophia In the twenty-first century we need to find a different kind of relationship to the wisdom of Divine Sophia. a beginning of a New Age in which Sophia is beginning to reveal herself to more and more human beings. having emigrated to the West after the Bolshevik Revolution. I would like to begin to look in closer detail at this New Age. and one whose will was inspired to bring about peace between all Christians. in the twenty-first century. In Solovyev we find an illumined mind. He was a teacher of the Sophia mysteries and of esoteric
. Hildegard of Bingen through Jakob Boehme and down to the modern age. It is relevant to every human being on this planet. We have followed the Sophia tradition in the West from the time of the incarnation of Christ.
These chakras are known and described in different spiritual and esoteric traditions as the centers of higher
. full of grace. and taught a prayer which helps to bring to realization within oneself the birth of the divine I AM. awaited for centuries by the Jewish people. it is the traditional prayer directed to the Virgin Mary but now understood in the sense of Sophia as the higher wisdom that manifested through Mary two thousand years ago. This prayer. Tomberg describes these seven I AM affirmations as seven Christian mantras relating to the seven lotus flowers or the seven chakra centers in each human being. of the conception of Jesus as the Christ or Logos. In the Gospel of St. John can be found seven I AM affirmations related to Jesus Christ. pray for us now and in the hour of our death. Actually. The prayer continues with our response. which notes that at the time of the Annunciation the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and spoke the following words: Hail Mary. which has a mantric quality. and next to the LordÕ s Prayer is one of the most popular prayers in Christianity. as human beings. Valentin Tomberg took the basic structure of this prayer. The words of the Hail Mary actually derive from the Gospel of St. Mother of God. in Latin the Ave Maria. Luke. was given to humanity through the Virgin Mary. the Lord is with thee. to this great event: Holy Mary. Blessed art thou among women. but of Christ as the divine I AM. The divine revelation communicated to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel was the good news. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. and brought into its context not only the birth of Jesus the man.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
Christianity. the Hail Mary.
the larynx. which is conceived as having two petals. located respectively in the vicinity of the crown of the head. the region of the heart. When we meditate on the words I AM the resurrection and the life in connection with the crown chakra we activate an actual ray or vibration that can help to awaken the spiritual faculties connected with it. Jesus Christ.The Sophia Teachings
organs of knowledge and perception. and he provides a way of incorporating the I AM affirmations as Christian mantras into the form of the Hail Mary prayer. the abdomen. Valentin Tomberg describes these centers and their different functions. They are subtle centers. In the same way we can conceive of the seven I AM affirmations as seven revelations of Christ. These seven chakras are centers that are to be awakened on the path of spiritual development. These seven centers relate to the soul-astral body of the human being. can become awakened. When we meditate on the words I AM the light of the world the chakra in the center of the forehead. the solar plexus. and the base of the spine. the divine I AM. we see the light become fragmented into seven rays corresponding to the seven colors of the rainbow. For example. the center of the forehead. If we hold up a prism before a light source. I AM the resurrection and the life is the I AM affirmation or Christian mantra to awaken the crown chakra. Each of the seven chakras has its own spiritual potential that can be awakened when we use the correct mantra. Briefly. The words I AM the light of the world are the Christian mantra to awaken the spiritual potential in the chakra at the center of the forehead. and the two petals can be opened up to become organs of communication with higher spiritual beings. We might also visualize these seven rays proceeding from
. and this awakening brings with it new spiritual faculties and perceptions. each I AM affirmation is conceived as a ray from the divine I AM.
and that it is activated through meditating upon the words I AM the good shepherd. The chakras as lotus flowers are structured such that each has a different number of petals. the center in the forehead is described as the two-petaled lotus flower. For example.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
Christ as the divine I AM. and the corresponding I AM affirmation for this center is I AM the bread of life. The center at the crown of the head is referred to in the Oriental tradition as the thousand-petaled lotus. Tomberg describes this center as having eight petals that are in such rapid and scintillating movement that there actually appear to be a thousand petals. four petals extending to the right. he describes the chakra center in the region of the larynx as a lotus flower with sixteen petals. the lotus being one of the most beautiful flowers. and four extending down toward the heart chakra. Tomberg states that there is one complete rotation of the sixteen-petaled lotus flower in the period of one hour. Further. Clairvoyants who behold the chakras describe them as having the form of lotus flowers. as we have seen. whose petals can become organs of reception of spiritual impulses from higher realms. Meditating upon these words helps to activate the heart center to open to its true spiritual potential. Moving down lower to the solar plexus we find the ten-petaled lotus flower that is awakened through
. In this spiritual practice we contemplate the seven I AM affirmations in turn and in relation to their corresponding chakras. When this lotus flower is brought into movement the petals begin to rotate. four to the left. each ray then becoming active in a different center in the human being. The heart center is described as having twelve petals. four petals extending upwards for the inflowing revelation from above.
The I AM statement for this center is I AM the true vine. which has four petals. and the life. This sets a spiritual current in motion corresponding to the stream of the washing of the feet. These are the seven I AM statements which represent seven revelations of different aspects of the divine I AM. We proceed down then to the forehead chakra with the words I AM the light of the world and so on. In Tomberg’s description of this practice we begin at the top with the crown chakra and the words I AM the resurrection and the life. who depicted it many times. which is a powerful meditation and prayer. who was very young at the time—about fourteen and a half years old —was at home in Nazareth. One night the mighty archangel Gabriel appears to her. As we have seen. and its relevant I AM statement is I AM the way. which is repeated seven times. What actually took place? That night is honored as holy
. In the Hail Mary. each I AM affirmation relates to one of the seven chakras. each time with a different I AM focus. we proceed through the seven chakras in descending order from the crown to the root chakra. let us place it in context. we come to the chakra at the base of the spine. the truth. This is a very powerful practice of spiritual purification. Let us imagine this great event of the Annunciation two thousand years ago. It represents the bringing down of pure spiritual light and warmth from the crown chakra down to the root chakra and then sending it on down through the feet and into Earth. The Virgin Mary. Before going through this prayer of the Hail Mary with its seven I AM affirmations. At the level of the abdomen is found the six-petaled lotus flower. each I AM affirmation is brought into the prayer. This scene has been portrayed in numerous paintings of the Annunciation.The Sophia Teachings
the Christian mantra I AM the door. In this spiritual practice. especially by Fra Angelico. Lastly. often referred to as the root chakra.
it can be offered without combining it with eurythmy. but is the form that emerged for me working with it over many years in connection with eurythmy as an art of spiritual movement. in contrast to the Great Rosary of the Catholic tradition. The word rosary means garland of roses. In the East. the Little Rosary. the I AM presence descends through the seven chakras—the organs of our soul—bringing them alive through each I AM affirmation. However. each chakra is described as a lotus flower. The term Little Rosary describes our new spiritual practice. The significance of the relationship between the I AM affirmations and the corresponding chakras is something upon which we can meditate and reflect. and we might think of the chakras as a garland of seven roses. is not exactly in the form that Valentin Tomberg originally gave it. which consists of fifty Hail Marys. the I AM presence can incarnate into us so that our soul is permeated through and through by Christ.
. incarnating soul of Jesus. This is the significance of the Annunciation. It can be prayed at any time of day. this being the most beautiful expression of the flower kingdom.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
for it saw the conception of the child Jesus as a spiritual event. In this way. In the West. if we take the Hail Mary prayer as a new spiritual practice in our own time. where the Virgin Mary opened to receive the incoming. And now. Some people call this Sophianic spiritual practice the Little Rosary. although a particularly wonderful time is late evening when the Annunciation to Mary actually took place. This prayer. each human being who offers this prayer to Divine Sophia as the mother of humanity and the regent of his or her own soul asks Sophia to bring to birth within them the divine I AM presence of the Christ. Through this prayer. we tend to give this high place to the rose.
full of grace. the I AM. which correspond to the two-petaled chakra at the center of the forehead. Blessed art thou among women. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. obviously have to do with our ability to see with this organ that is called the third eye. to bring the Divine Logos. Hail Mary. Jesus Christ. the Lord is with thee. full of grace. This is one example. Holy Mary. but one can ponder the deeper significance of the correspondence between the I AM affirmations and every one of the seven chakras You might now wish to pray the Little Rosary. and enables us to begin to see by means of the Spirit-Sun of existence. And so the words I AM the light of the world shine into the third eye to bring about the power of spiritual seeing. mother of God. mother of God.
. Pray for us now. Holy Mary. the divine I AM. and in the hour of our death. Blessed art thou among women. the Lord is with thee. Hail Mary. the power of divine love and divine light to illuminate and warm your soul. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. and in the hour of our death. who speaks: I AM the light of the world. calling upon Divine Sophia as the mother of humanity.The Sophia Teachings
For example. It bestows a seeing that goes beyond what we can see with our two eyes in the natural world. the words I AM the light of the world. Jesus Christ. who speaks: I AM the resurrection and the life. Pray for us now.
and in the hour of our death. the Lord is with thee. who speaks: I AM the door. full of grace. Blessed art thou among women. who speaks: I AM the bread of life. Jesus Christ. mother of God. Blessed art thou among women. Hail Mary. Jesus Christ. the Lord is with thee. who speaks: I AM the way. Blessed art thou among women. full of grace. full of grace. Jesus Christ. Pray for us now. Blessed art thou among women. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. mother of God. the truth. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. mother of God. Hail Mary. Jesus Christ. the entrance and the exit. Pray for us now. Pray for us now. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. and in the hour of our death. and in the hour of our death. Holy Mary. Holy Mary. and in the hour of our death. full of grace.Sophia in the Western Mystical Tradition
Hail Mary. the Lord is with thee. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
. and the life. the Lord is with thee. Holy Mary. Hail Mary. mother of God. who speaks: I AM the good shepherd. Pray for us now. Holy Mary.
The Sophia Teachings
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ, who speaks: I AM the true vine. Holy Mary, mother of God, Pray for us now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.
Chapter Five The Influence of Divine Sophia in the East
E HAVE SEEN HOW DIVINE SOPHIA HAS revealed herself to certain European mystics during the past thousand years. Interestingly, the Sophia teachings had a profound influence in the East. And the mystery of the Palladium leads us back to the East. What happened to the Palladium after its recapture from Troy? The Palladium was a wooden statue of Pallas Athena, three cubits high, which, like the Kaaba in Mecca, had at its center a meteor that was believed to have fallen from heaven. This meteoric component is said to have conferred invulnerability upon the possessor of the Palladium. Buried in the depths below the city, guarded by vestal virgins, the Palladium was the source of the power of the city of Troy. But Troy lost its invulnerability when Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, secretly entered the city and recaptured the meteoric component of the Palladium. By this act, Odysseus literally opened the door to the destruction of the city of Troy, because, due to the skillful maneu79
The Sophia Teachings
vering of Odysseus, the Greeks were able to enter the city and set fire to it. In the light of this Greek victory, it is somewhat of a surprise to learn that the Trojan priest Aeneas rescued the wooden statue of the Palladium from the flames and thus prevented it from falling into Greek hands. The travels of Aeneas, recorded in the Aeneid, tell us of the further destiny of the Palladium. After leaving Troy, Aeneas traveled around the Mediterranean and eventually came to the region of present-day Rome, where he married the daughter of the Roman king, Latinus. And so the Palladium came to rest in Rome, where, as in Troy, a special temple was built for it beneath the city, guarded by vestal virgins. In this underground temple an eternally burning flame gave the city of Rome its power over the whole of the ancient world. In the second century CE the emperor Trajan brought from Egypt a colossal porphyry pillar from the temple of Isis and had it placed above the underground temple of the Palladium. In the fourth century CE, the emperor Constantine the Great heard the prophecy of the sibyls that the city of Rome would collapse and its power would be lost. In an attempt to secure the future of the Empire, he decided to transfer the capital from Rome to Constantinople, the city named after him, with the idea of creating an even greater empire embracing the East and the West. Constantine the Great carried out his bold plan and transferred the Palladium to Constantinople, where it was placed once again in an underground temple guarded by vestal virgins. The colossal porphyry pillar from the temple of Isis was also transported to Constantinople and placed above the Palladium. The Palladium is a Sophianic symbol. Let us recall that the Palladium was given to Ilias, the founder of Troy, by Athena, Greek
but he had the face of Apollo made in his own likeness. Constantine. and proclaim the fame of its founder. the current name for Constantinople. But that’s a whole other story. The light of that wisdom now radiated forth from Constantinople. The rest of it still stands to the present day in the city of Istanbul.Sophia in the East
goddess of wisdom. And. Through the power of the Palladium we have a Sun symbol. According to legend. to Russia. He then created a halo around this golden statue of Apollo. These precious relics had been brought back from Jerusalem to Constantinople by Constantine’s mother Helen. We await. of which present-day Russia is the first sign—a culture that will blossom and flourish under the inspiration
. a burning light of wisdom beneath the earth that confers power upon its possessor. but without success. it is said. the statue was struck by lightning and half the pillar was destroyed. Thus we can see that Constantine suffered from megalomania. it is said. the Palladium will one day be recovered and transferred to a Slavic kingdom in the north. there will be a new culture. endure for all time. The meteor from the Palladium was taken by Odysseus to Greece. with great interest any clues to the future destiny of the Palladium. therefore. for all eternity. like the Sun. Early in the twentieth century some followers of Rudolf Steiner went to Istanbul and began excavations there to locate the Palladium. Constantine’s inscription did not live up to its promise. A few centuries later. a halo made from some nails and wood from the cross upon which Christ had been crucified in Jerusalem. the Palladium is still buried beneath this pillar. On top of the porphyry pillar from the temple of Isis the emperor Constantine had placed a golden statue of Apollo. Constantine adorned his statue with this inscription: That which sheds its beneficial influence here shall. This points to the coming Aquarian Age in which.
This is the great promise for the future. The very fact that the festival days of these two cathedrals are identical with the celebration of the birth of the Virgin Mary (Kiev) and of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary (Novgorod) points to this relationship with the Divine Feminine. built in the middle of the eleventh century. We might ask: What signs are there of a Sophianic Christianity in Russia? One of the greatest monuments to Christianity is the great basilica of Hagia Sophia. that will arise and flourish in Russia and the other Slavic countries. constructed by Emperor Justinian in Constantinople. is really a basilica dedicated to Christ as the wisdom of the world. we find a true Sophianic quality entering in with the construction of these cathedrals dedicated to Holy Sophia.
. When Christianity spread to Russia in the year 988 CE its orientation was not to the Roman Catholic world but to the Greek Orthodox tradition centered at Constantinople. the feminine messenger of the Divine.The Sophia Teachings
of Divine Sophia. This points to a Christianity of the New Age. So the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. what we might call a Sophianic Christianity. but they interpreted Sophia not as the Logos or Christ but as Divine Sophia the feminine side of God. So from the very beginning of Christianity in Russia and Ukraine. built not far from the site of the Palladium. For a long time Hagia Sophia possessed the largest dome in the world. the Christ. Justinian was of the school that viewed Sophia as identical with the Logos. and its very name means Holy Sophia. Hagia Sophia was the archetype for Russian cathedrals such as the Holy Sophia cathedrals in Kiev and in Novgorod. The great temple of Holy Sophia in Constantinople also provided inspiration for the Russians.
This inspiring icon of Sophia is found in different parts of Russia and is further testimony of the Russian people’s dedication to Divine Sophia.
. and above him the open book of the sacred word representing the Word of God. Before that time. Following Solovyev. even though within the Russian Church itself there was little understanding on a conscious level of the nature of Divine Sophia. and inspiration of future humanity. a majestic representation of Sophia as an angelic being seated upon a throne. Above her is the risen Christ. guide. we find two key figures in the development of Russian Sophiology. In Novgorod we find the great icon of Divine Sophia. the mystery of Divine Sophia as the world soul. These two are the Russian Orthodox priests. what we find is an instinctive worship of Divine Sophia in the Russian Orthodox Church. However. the mother. on a conscious level. as the two human beings closest to Divine Sophia. until the time of the philosopher and mystic Solovyev in the nineteenth century. radiating her rays of wisdom to all humanity. To her right is the Virgin Mary. we can be grateful to the Russian Orthodox Church for having preserved this Sophianic influence that disappeared by and large from the Western Church. to her left is John the Baptist. The presence of the Divine Sophia in the Russian Orthodox tradition itself points to the future Sophianic culture that will emerge in Russia. Vladimir Solovyev was the first within the Russian Orthodox tradition to reveal.Sophia in the East
Another testimony to the nature of worship and devotion to Sophia in Russia is to be found in the Russian icon tradition. Sophia has been at the root of Russian Orthodox Christianity. Pavel Florensky and Sergei Bulgakov.
he was sent to a concentration camp on the White Islands in the far north of Russia where he was executed in 1937. yet he became a priest. Florensky was viciously attacked by Stalin. that is. In this work he describes Sophia as the soul of the world: This sublime. and this. Florensky was enlisted to help with this great project due to his mathematical abilities. He was a brilliant mathematician. the higher and more complete form of the world. nor an angel or one of the saints: Is she not the true synthesis of all humanity. of course. with a brilliant mind and a heart devoted to the divine. He was a truly spiritual individual. the living soul of nature and the universe? He continues: Sophia is the grand root of the synthesis of everything that is created. Florensky suffered an ignominious end. was an unusual sight in the Soviet Union. His major work on Sophia is called The Pillar and Foundation of Truth. In the 1930s. but now in contemporary Russia he is regarded as a hero and has even been called the “Leonardo” of Russian culture. the entire creation and not just all creatures. He wore his priestly garb when he spoke at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in the year 1926. When the Bolsheviks came to power in the Soviet Union they planned to bring electricity to those vast lands.
. later. although he was a priest.The Sophia Teachings
Florensky was born in 1882 in Tiflis in Georgia and was from youth an extraordinarily gifted child. and. It was tolerated at the time but. royal and feminine nature who is not God or the eternal Son. Florensky continued to wear his priestly robes and his great cross.
the heart of redeemed creation.Sophia in the East
Sophia is the guardian angel. that is. and from the Books of Wisdom from the Old Testament.
. the power which makes a human being entirely whole. She is the Church. Florensky also pointed to the central significance of the Virgin Mary as a manifestation and incarnation of the Divine Sophia. from the tradition of the whole Church back to its foundation. its formational foundation. Sophia is personal virginity. who incorporated teachings of the mystics such as Jakob Boehme. although Florensky came to this perspective independently. Concerning the relationship between Mary and Sophia. his views concerning Mary as the incarnated Sophia are identical with the teaching of Jakob Boehme. therefore. Sophia incarnated. Florensky focussed upon a purely Christian interpretation of Sophia from the Christian tradition without including any gnostic elements such as we find in Jakob Boehme’s work. that is. the ideal person of the world. Mary carries this virginal power in her par excellence. She is. that is. Florensky writes: Sophia is the first created and the first redeemed. the manifestation of Sophia. Florensky tried to find a pure teaching of Sophia that would be acceptable within the Russian Orthodox Church. the whole of everyone who comes to enjoy redemption and makes up the body of Christ. Thus. In this respect Florensky differs from Solovyev. Florensky’s Sophia teachings are drawn from the Russian Orthodox tradition.
Bulgakov was exiled from Russia and went to live in France. as with Florensky. However. and the Holy Spirit. the Son. that is. Bulgakov dedicated his life to expounding his teachings concerning Sophia. At the time of the Bolshevik Revolution.
. Bulgakov did not derive anything of his teaching from Gnostic sources outside of the Church. like Florensky. Sophia. perhaps the most prodigious of the Sophianic theologians. Bulgakov later ran into conflict with the Moscow authorities and he was condemned on account of his Sophia teachings.The Sophia Teachings
Florensky was a personal friend of the Russian priest Sergei Bulgakov (1871–1944). and the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless. this does not mean transforming the Trinity into a Quaternity. let us hear what Bulgakov himself says concerning this idea of Sophia as the ousia or substance common to the Holy Trinity. Bulgakov’s purpose was. in his exposition of the nature of Divine Sophia. However. the Son. Bulgakov wrote: The three divine persons of the Holy Trinity have a life in common. an ousia. the substance that is common to the three persons of the Holy Trinity—the Father. but concentrated solely upon the Church tradition. and his works comprise the most comprehensive body of knowledge on Sophiology. This idea aroused the suspicion within Bulgakov’s fellow theologians that Sophia could be put forward as a fourth hypostasis alongside the Father. to present Sophia in a way that would be acceptable to his fellow priests and theologians of the Russian Orthodox Church. In this. What was it about Bulgakov’s views of Sophia that caused him to become viewed as a heretic? It was his idea that Sophia is the ousia (to use the Greek word). where he later became head of the Russian Orthodox Seminary in Paris.
but from this time onward his writings bore the stigma of heresy. a rich theological and philosophical tradition founded by Solovyev. it was for this that he was condemned. and continued by Florensky and Bulgakov. I also learned there is hope within the Russian Orthodox Church that there will one day be a great council dedicated to Sophia. I was present in 1996 at a Sophia conference in Rome. First held by Solovyev. He continued to write and carry out his functions as a priest. Russian Sophiology. Valentin Tomberg Valentin Tomberg was of central significance for the Russian Sophia tradition. This did not affect Bulgakov’s position as the head of the Russian Orthodox Seminary in Paris.Sophia in the East
Here Bulgakov denies that the idea of Sophia being the common life of the Holy Trinity would transform it into a Quaternity. to which Russian theologians as well as Roman Catholic priests and theologians had been invited. just as the teaching of the Holy Trinity within the Christian tradition occupied theologians from the fourth century down to the present time. Nevertheless. The theme of this conference was “Sophia as the Bridge between East and West. and he carried it a stage further. It is my conviction that he represents the pinnacle of the Sophianic tradition in Russia up until the present time.
. the dream to unite East and West still persists.” I learned that up to the present time within the Russian Orthodox Church the teachings of Bulgakov were still regarded as heretical. I believe his teachings will occupy humanity for millennia. suffered great setbacks under the communist regime of Stalin and awaits a full re-emergence in the future.
then Sophia is the reason of creation. Divine Sophia as the first created being has a relationship to the Father. purity and immaculateness. truth or justice. its holiness. If we turn to the Son. Secondly. But.
. The first aspect is that of Sophia as the original substance of the creation in her relationship to the Father. And as the first created being she is the highest created being of all existence. being a fourth created person she does not Ò constituteÓ Divine U nity. and the Holy Spirit. She enters into the bosom of the Trinity and she partakes of Divine Love. Florensky states: Sophia participates in the life of the Trihypostatic Godhead. unfathomable. Being the very first created being. based on the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament. we find in Sophia the spirituality of creation. the Word. she came forth from the womb of the Holy Trinity.The Sophia Teachings
What are his teachings concerning the Divine Sophia? We can enter into them if we first review Florensky’s views and see how Valentin Tomberg’s teachings go a stage further and completely transform them. In the eyes of Florensky. And lastly. unthinkable humility of God. nor is Lo ve. the first created being.Ó but only enters into the Ò communion Love and is allowed to enter into this communion by the ineffable. Sophia is the ideal substance. its beauty. that is. the foundation of creation. Florensky here elaborates three aspects of Sophia as the first created being. its meaning. Sophia is a created being. the Son. from the point of view of the Holy Spirit. From the point of view of the Father. the power or force of its being. According to Florensky. and therefore has a relationship to each member of the Holy Trinity.
Son. and the Holy Soul who is the counterpart of the Holy Spirit. Tomberg goes a stage further. and Holy Soul.Sophia in the East
that Sophia is the wisdom of creation in relationship to the Son. who is the Primordial Being of all existence. a polarization into that part of the Godhead that goes into the Creation and that part of the Godhead that remains transcendental to the Creation. to the Word. Thirdly. the Creator. the Daughter who complements the Son. This Divine Feminine Trinity is thus another side of the Godhead. let us dwell for a moment on this Sophianic Trinity of Mother. if we go back prior to this time. but I would say that if we go back far enough there is indeed a definite beginning to the coming into existence of creation. Daughter. what would we find? There would be the Godhead. who complements the Father. In order to contemplate some of the far-reaching implications of Valentin Tomberg’s Sophia teachings. we find a polarization taking place within this Primordial Being of the Godhead. In this profound teaching. that Sophia is the beauty and spirituality of creation in relation to the Holy Spirit. and Holy Spirit. How can we conceive of this Trinity? Astronomers nowadays consider the act of creation as occurring at a definite moment in time and speak of it as the Big Bang. the Divine Feminine is a Trinity comprising the Mother. complementary to the masculine Trinity of the Godhead of Father. the original Primordial Being.
. He speaks of a Sophianic Trinity parallel or complementary to the Holy Trinity. who is neither masculine nor feminine. however. At the moment when the creation begins. in that he speaks of Sophia not simply as having three aspects but of Sophia as being three persons. I do not subscribe to the Big Bang theory. However.
according to Jakob Boehme and the Russian Sophiologists. therefore. Christ. so. we find we can differentiate between the Creation. the incarnation of Sophia into Mary took place at the event of Pentecost. that is. into Jesus took place at the baptism in the Jordan. In the polarization within the Godhead at the beginning of creation. just as we may understand that the incarnation of the Logos. the Divine Father. the Christ. Valentin Tomberg teaches that arising out of the primordial Godhead begotten from the Divine Father and the Divine Mother are the Divine Son and the Divine Daughter. the world created through the wisdom of Sophia and the fire of the Divine Logos. therefore. As the Word and the Wisdom of creation. Having prayed throughout the night together. the transcendental aspect would be called the Father. we find the Son and the Daughter of the Divine who work together in the formation of the world and humanity. that is the Divine Mother. that the Mother can be conceived as the primordial substance of all creation. there also took place an incarnation of Divine Sophia into Mary. And. the disciples gathered around Mary on Pentecost
. the Logos and Sophia. In the light of the Sophia teachings. so. We find. The word Mother itself conveys something of this. took place in Jesus. The immanent aspect of the Godhead would be called the Mother. the Divine Son and the Divine Daughter worked for eons of time in shaping the primordial matter of existence in order to bring forth the world as we know it. we have. a transcendental aspect and an immanent aspect of the Godhead.The Sophia Teachings
In philosophical terms. and that which is transcendental to the Creation. And just as the incarnation of the Logos. Christ and Sophia. In this Sophianic teaching. The Latin for mother is mater and the Latin word for matter is materia. therefore. according to Valentin Tomberg.
This awe-inspiring image of Sophia as the world soul can be found in the Book of Revelation. The Divine Daughter is the wisdom of the cosmos. transcendent to all creation. On that holy day there took place the incarnation of Sophia into Mary. leading humanity onward to ever-higher levels of spiritual consciousness. let us consider the next stage. she is
. where. Sun. as I mentioned earlier in the book. while the Divine Son. and on the other hand of the Holy Soul in relation to the Divine Mother and the Divine Daughter. In Christian theology.Sophia in the East
Sunday morning. The Holy Spirit is conceived of as one who enlightens. The Divine Mother is essentially the whole of creation. weaves the Holy Spirit as the one who renews and revitalizes all that is living. The Divine Father is conceived as being at rest outside of the Creation. the Holy Spirit is conceived as weaving between the Father and the Son. Moon. Valentin Tomberg teaches that the heart of the Divine Mother is to be found in the center of the Earth and that the plant kingdom resonates with the very heartbeat of the Mother. and all living creatures. namely the relationship of the Holy Spirit on the one hand to the Father and to the Son. is seen as having entered into the center. into the heart of creation. the Earth. planets. having incarnated into a human body upon Earth. Let us now consider the Divine Feminine Trinity of the Mother. depicted as tongues of fire. the Daughter and the Holy Soul. above the heads of the disciples. pictured as the soul of the world embracing the entire cosmos extending from the realm of the fixed stars down to the planets and the Moon. making possible the descent of the Holy Spirit. embracing all the stars. Having followed the unfolding of the Divine Feminine in relation to the Divine Masculine. Between the Cross of Golgotha and the Father.
Spiritual Practices to Invoke Divine Sophia How can we understand the Trinity of the Divine Feminine more profoundly? I suggest beginning with a wonderful prayer directed to the Divine Mother. The Holy Soul is the creator of community. thou who art in the darkness of the underworld. Son. Our Mother. Valentin Tomberg introduced this prayer to a small circle of his pupils during the Second World War. and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. This central teaching of the Divine Feminine Trinity will be a source of inspiration for seekers of divine wisdom in the coming ages. Between the Divine Mother in the center of the Earth and the Divine Daughter Sophia as the world soul. the third aspect of the Divine Feminine Trinity. who ensouls and elevates groups of human beings in the progress of unfolding evolution. and Holy Soul. just as the teaching of the Holy Trinity— Father. and Holy Spirit—has been a source of inspiration for Christians in ages past. We find an example of this in the spiritual tradition of Israel that conceives of the Shekinah as the soul of the community of Israel. Daughter. and Holy Soul—we reach the pinnacle of the Sophia tradition of Russia. In this Sophia teaching of the Divine Feminine Trinity— Mother. May the holiness of thy name shine anew in our remembering. with the Moon under her feet. Here Shekinah corresponds to the Holy Soul weaving between the Divine Daughter and the Divine Mother.
. the Our Mother prayer. Daughter. Valentin Tomberg arrived at an extraordinary understanding of the Divine Feminine synthesized in these three persons—Mother.The Sophia Teachings
depicted as a woman clothed with the Sun. weaves the Holy Soul.
The Our Father starts off with the words: Our Father. This prayer. The Our Father continues with the first petition: Hallowed be thy name. to the
. Here is reference to the name of the Divine Mother. For all and everything in the circle of all. in that it has seven petitions. in the Orient she was called the Great Mother. For thine is the homeland and the boundless wisdom. the LordÕ s Prayer. and the all-merciful grace. Receive this day the living memory of thee from human hearts. By the liberation of all beings from the tragedy of thy withdrawal. Who implore thee to forgive the sin of forgetting thee. And who are ready to fight against temptation which has led thee to existence in darkness. Amen. the Our Mother. thou who art in the darkness of the underworld. Magna Mater. The Our Mother begins with the words: Our Mother. corresponds to the Our Father. The first petition of the Our Mother prayer begins: May the holiness of thy name shine anew in our remembering. May the resurrection of thy will renew eternal faith even unto the depths of physical substance. To the Greeks she was Demeter. who art in Heaven. That through the deed of the Son the immeasurable pain of the Father be stilled. Here immediately our attention is drawn to the polarity of the Divine Father who is the transcendental being of all creation and the Divine Mother who is the immanent being of all creation.Sophia in the East
May the breath of thy awakening kingdom warm the hearts of all who wander homeless.
The fourth petition of the Our Mother prayer is: Receive this day the living memory of thee from human hearts. Since the Fall. and this event will signify the complete transubstantiation and spiritualizing of the Earth.The Sophia Teachings
Egyptians she was Isis. The third petition of the Our Father. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This refers to the kingdom of the Divine Mother. The name of the Divine Mother should begin to shine anew in our remembering. create a new paradise or kingdom of heaven. The second petition of the Our Mother prayer refers to the divine kingdom of the Mother: May the breath of thy awakening kingdom warm the hearts of all who wander homeless. this lost kingdom of paradise. the paradise of Shambhala has been lost and has sunk down into the depths of the Earth. With the Our Father the second petition is: Thy kingdom come. In this fourth petition our attention is drawn to the fact that we are alive and
. In the fourth petition of the Our Father are the words: Give us this day our daily bread. which is eternally faithful to the Father in the heights. for we have forgotten her during the course of the last two thousand years. We find references in different mythologies and spiritual traditions that at one time humanity dwelt in paradise together with the whole being of nature. Here is a reference to the divine will of the Mother. The divine will of the Mother is one day to become reunited with the Father. in the future. this golden realm that has sunk down to the center of the Earth. which will. But now in our time it is possible to find a new access to this kingdom of the Divine Mother. and with the four streams of life forces flowing through the being of the Divine Mother. the realm that is referred to as Shambhala in the East. is mirrored in the Our Mother with the words: May the resurrection of thy will renew eternal faith even unto the depths of physical substance.
Here is a reference to the original temptation that took place in paradise. Our task now is to resist temptation. we are continually supported by Mother Earth. The fifth petition of the Our Mother is: Who implore thee to forgive the sin of forgetting thee.
. Here we are reminded that in forgetting the Divine Mother during the last two thousand years we have committed a sin of omission and we implore her to forgive us. in the Garden of Eden. In the fifth petition of the LordÕ s Prayer the words are: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. dominating Mother Earth. humanity experienced the Fall. Now is the time to acknowledge our debt of gratitude to the Divine Mother for her everpresent support and unconditional love. With every breath we take. to include her in our thoughts. through technology. for this holds the Divine Mother in darkness and obscurity. The primary temptation of our time is that of humanity. Now is the time when the Divine Mother needs to return into our consciousness.Sophia in the East
sustained through the grace of the Divine Mother. In the sixth petition of the LordÕ s Prayer are the words: Lead us not into temptation. and needs to be acknowledged. Through succumbing to that temptation. and our deeds. and compelling her to give more than she is able to freely bestow on us. our feelings. We have to learn to begin to live again in harmony with Mother Earth. the water we drink. the food we eat. We have to resist this temptation to dominate and to plunder. and out of love for humanity the whole of nature also experienced the Fall. the Divine Mother. In the Our Mother prayer the corresponding petition is: And are ready to fight against temptation which has led thee to existence in darkness.
By and large. The descent into the underworld took place on Easter Saturday. and it is the deed of the Son. the resurrection on Easter Sunday. where the focus is upon the death on the Cross and then the resurrection. but on the liberation of all the beings of nature who have suffered through the Fall and through the consequent withdrawal of the heart of the Divine Mother into the depths. The descent into the underworld to the Divine Mother is the counterpart to the Ascension forty days after the Resurrection. This deed of Christ can be an inspiration for all human beings to participate in the raising up and redemption of the entire Earth. What I am speaking of here is hardly known in the Christian tradition. The unveiling of this mystery signifies an opening to the mysteries of the Divine Feminine that have become accessible in the twentieth century through the teachings of individuals such as Valentin Tomberg. It has been a mystery up until the twentieth century as to what really took place on Easter Saturday with the descent of Christ into the underworld. The death on the Cross took place on Good Friday. to work in overcoming this Fall of humanity.The Sophia Teachings
In the seventh petition of the LordÕ s Prayer are the words: But deliver us from evil. has given rise to pain and suffering on the part of the Father. We can see that
. This is the polarity. The corresponding seventh petition to the Our Mother is: That through the deed of the Son the immeasurable pain of the Father be stilled by the liberation of all beings from the tragedy of thy withdrawal. This event. where he implants in the womb of the Earth the seeds for the Earth’s redemption. the Fall. this mystery could not have been understood by humanity in earlier times. The mystery that is conveyed after Christ’s death on the Cross is his descent into the underworld to the Mother. the Ascension of Christ to the realm of the Father. Christ. Here the focus is not upon our deliverance from evil.
Christ worked to reunite the Father and the Mother. and the subsequent ascent to the Father.
.Sophia in the East
through the descent to the Mother. This is a profound mystery—the work of the Son is to overcome the chasm that occurred at the time of the Fall with the descent of the heart of the Mother into the underworld.
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This teaching of spiritual evolution was elaborated upon by Rudolf Steiner. One of the most significant was Madame Helena Blavatsky. I would like to focus on
.Chapter Six Modern Teachings of Sophia
THER TEACHERS IN THE NINETEENTH AND twentieth centuries have referred to the mystery of the Divine Mother. Blavatsky had a special task to open up the Sophia teachings in the West. began the unveiling of the mysteries of the Divine Feminine. Blavatsky elucidates a central teaching of Theosophy. and her first great work. The Secret Doctrine. who was born in Russia in 1831 and died in 189l. the wisdom of God. In her next great work. Isis Unveiled. Madame Blavatsky is remembered as the founder of the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875. who gave an even more comprehensive perspective of the unfolding of evolution than Blavatsky. describing the vast unfolding of evolution through seven great globes or epochs of existence. The word Theosophy itself points to the Divine Sophia. Theo-Sophia.
Shortly after this experience he began in 1900 to hold lectures on spiritual themes. From the outset. He received an education in science that later equipped him to become the editor of Goethe’s scientific writings. the theory of knowledge. grew up there. Steiner became the general secretary of the Theosophical Society in Germany. Rudolf Steiner’s own early works were of a philosophical nature as he was concerned with epistemology. Steiner made it clear that he would only be able to fulfill his task if he had complete freedom to include his own esoteric teachings. He wanted to explore the question “To what extent is the human being a free being?” Around 1899. and saw his teaching as an extension of science as we know it. He was recognized and acknowledged by Annie Besant. at that time head of the Theosophical Society. which he said were appropriate for Western humanity and which had a solid foundation in the Western scientific tradition. the Philosophy of Freedom. Steiner called his approach spiritual science. This experience caused a radical transformation in Rudolf Steiner’s inner life and equipped him to become a spiritual teacher. and was educated at the technical high school in Vienna.The Sophia Teachings
Steiner’s cosmological perspective as it relates to the Sophia teachings and can deepen our understanding of the mysteries of the Divine Feminine. and in his primary philosophical work. he applied the theory of knowledge to the concept of freedom. Rudolf Steiner was born in Austria in 1861. In 1902. as an advanced initiate who was capable of bringing new esoteric teachings into the Theosophical Society. “How do we come to know things?” was Steiner’s central question. an extension
. Rudolf Steiner had a profound experience that he describes in his autobiography as an encounter with Christ through the Mystery of Golgotha.
In cosmological terms. Steiner’s teaching of spiritual science was renamed Anthroposophy. From that time on. and through this gift he was able not merely to theorize. It was a purely spiritual form of existence. Central to Rudolf Steiner’s work is his elaboration of Blavatsky’s teaching about the seven globes or epochs of evolution. Steiner remained general secretary of the Theosophical Society in Germany until the end of the year 1912. we see a relationship to the Divine Sophia. based on spiritual science. Again. most of the German section of the Theosophical Society remained loyal to him. and he founded a new society. A fiery globe filled the whole solar system extending as far as the orbit of the planet Saturn. with this word Anthroposophia. Sophia the word for wisdom. but actually to behold and follow the stages of Earth’s evolution into the far distant past. what Steiner called a warmth or a fire stage of evolution. four incarnations of the Divine Mother. However. So we can conceive of this fiery
. at which point differences arose which caused Steiner to withdraw from the Society. Anthropos is the Greek word for the human being. Rudolf Steiner had an extraordinary gift of clairvoyance. Steiner’s great contribution is that he was able to describe these other levels of existence clairvoyantly and to delineate the human being’s relationship to them in a spiritually scientific way. this stage of evolution had no physical manifestation. The first incarnation or stage of evolution of the Divine Mother Steiner called the Ancient Saturn stage. called the Anthroposophical Society. He described four incarnations of the Earth.Modern Teachings of Sophia
from focussing on purely material matters to a concern with other dimensions of existence. and he showed the evolution of humanity in relation to these incarnations.
. called the Ancient Sun. to the Ancient Sun stage of air and light. and the arising of a new cosmic condition as a globe of a watery nature permeated by resounding tones. This third stage of evolution signified a further contraction. a new globe was formed. This second globe or incarnation of the Divine Mother resembled the Sun in that it was permeated with light and air. its primordial energy as the created part of existence during manifestation. Just as the universe breathes out. there was another period of transition or pralaya preceding a third incarnation of the Divine Mother. After a vast period of time.The Sophia Teachings
globe of the Divine Mother as a great womb in which we ourselves existed. During this period after dissolution of the Ancient Saturn globe of warmth. to the Ancient Moon stage of water and sound. together with other spiritual beings. Again. but this time it consisted of light and air. a gradual densification from the Ancient Saturn fire stage. during which human beings received an infusion of life that signified the development of what we can call the life body or the etheric body. and filled the entire solar system as far as the orbit of the present planet Mars. what in the Indian tradition is called pralaya. which subtly permeates our physical body. The seeds of the human physical body were formed during this primary stage of evolution. This second globe or second incarnation of the Divine Mother. There was. This third incarnation of the Divine Mother is known as the Ancient Moon stage of evolution. at the end of the Ancient Sun stage of evolution. therefore. a contraction or dissolution took place. so during pralaya it withdraws that energy back into itself. may be conceived of as a vastly expanded condition of light and air extending up to the orbit of the present planet Jupiter. This second incarnation of the Divine Mother Steiner calls the Ancient Sun stage of evolution. so to speak.
. they manifest a form of consciousness in which there is still a feeling of unity or oneness with Nature. How can we understand this relationship more deeply? If we look at so-called primitive peoples. We have become free and independent beings. developed during the Saturn. and Earth stages. Again. Sun. Moon. we received the foundation of the etheric or lifebody. and during the Ancient Moon stage of evolution. During the Ancient Saturn stage. during the Ancient Sun stage. comprising a physical body. During the coming of age of humanity in the West. now is the time to become awakened to an awareness of our true relationship with the Divine Mother.Modern Teachings of Sophia
beings we existed within the womb of the Divine Mother during each of her incarnations. forgetting her. which is endowed with self-consciousness. But this has been at the expense of losing our deeper relationship with the Earth Mother. the self or the divine ego. such as the Aborigines or the natives of some tribes of South America. with the Divine Mother. During the present stage of evolution on the Earth. at the end of the Ancient Moon stage of evolution. astral body. humanity has acquired a fourth level of being. etheric body. how can we envision the further unfolding of evolution? As expressed in the Our Mother prayer. we received the foundation of the astral body that endowed us with a sentient nature. Every human being is thus a fourfold being. and self or divine ego. preceding the fourth incarnation of the Divine Mother as our familiar planet Earth. Having passed through these four incarnations of Earth with the Divine Mother. we received the seed of the physical body. we have more and more emancipated ourselves from our Divine Mother. there was a further pralaya or period of dissolution.
as at Eleusis. a turning point in spiritual evolution is coming that will signify the beginning of a transformation and spiritualization of the whole Earth. the Earth Mother. and this development has continued up until the present time. a new globe of existence will emerge that Steiner called Future Jupiter. Now is the time to remember and renew our relationship with the Divine Mother. Daughter. in which case we have an expression of the Divine Feminine Trinity of Mother. The completion of this transformation will signify the end of the period of Earth evolution. Eleusis was close to Athens and so Athena. As described earlier. But now is the time to renew our connection with the Divine Mother. Through a spiritual awakening of humanity to the Divine Feminine. the patron goddess of the city of Athens. with the birth of Christ as the Logos. This will transform
. Our relationship to the Divine Mother was very clear to human beings in ancient times and was cultivated in the different mystery centers of antiquity. as already mentioned. Every human being receiving initiation at Eleusis was able to experience a profound sense of feeling united with Demeter.The Sophia Teachings
expressed in the Our Mother prayer. the mysteries were celebrated by worshiping Demeter the mother and Persephone the daughter. which will signify a further contraction from our present Earth to the orbit of the planet Venus. where the mysteries of Demeter were celebrated. with Athena representing the Holy Soul. could also be included. what we have called the coming-of-age of humanity. the mysteries of the Divine Feminine receded into the background. In that moment—through Christ’s sacrifice on Golgotha—the development of our divine ego consciousness began. At Eleusis. This was the meaning and the gift of the ancient mysteries. After another period of transition or pralaya. and Holy Soul.
generally speaking. The period of pralaya at the end of the Future Jupiter stage of evolution will be followed by a sixth incarnation of the Divine Mother signifying a still further stage of spiritualization of the Earth and humanity. This period of evolution is called Future Venus and will arise through a further condensation or contraction that will take place as a sixth globe in the place of the orbit of the planet Mercury. We can catch a glimpse of the extraordinary transformation of the life body into a radiant healing body if we look at the example of Jesus healing people through his mere presence. but also of the life body. what we in the West would term a lifespirit body. in the far distant future through intense spiritual work upon ourselves. What is conveyed by the word Manas is the transformation and spiritualization of the astral body to become elevated to a spirit self. Jesus Christ represents a very advanced stage of evolution at which we will arrive. that is a level of self-consciousness where we become aware of ourselves as spiritual beings united with the whole cosmos. Manas is a theosophical term and signifies becoming filled with wisdom. the etheric body. The goal of humanity is to reach ever more advanced levels of existence. which will become a radiant healing body. This future stage of evolution will signify a spiritualization not just of the astral body. The theosophical term Buddhi describes this healing body.Modern Teachings of Sophia
Earth and humankind into a spiritual state that is described in the Book of Revelation as the Heavenly Jerusalem. or the fifth incarnation of the Divine Mother. the principle of Manas will be developed. the Holy City of the future. The whole of nature. The corresponding Western term would be spirit-self or higher self. and during the Future Jupiter period of evolution. will also become transformed through this
. which is permeated with life forces.
the Earth will become a Sun located in the present position of the Sun at the center of our solar system. to eat with his disciples. This signifies that he had complete command over his physical body. and eventually humanity together with the Earth will ascend to a still higher spiritual level of existence. But with the beginning of the creation at the start of the Ancient Saturn stage of evolution there began a separation between the Father and the Mother. As described in the Gospel of St. for the Divine Mother—as expressed in the Our Mother prayer—is eternally faithful to the Divine Father through all cycles of time. The ultimate goal of spiritual evolution from now into the future will signify the transformation of the Earth into that Sun. At this stage the Divine Mother will become reunited with the Divine Father. we can speak of a primordial stage of evolution when the Father and the Mother were united. and this gives us a glimpse of the Future Vulcan stage of evolution. and it will follow the Future Jupiter and Future Venus stages of evolution. John. At the same time human beings will experience a profound transformation such that the physical body itself will become transformed into a radiant spiritual vehicle. In the Vulcan level of evolution. and to materialize or de-materialize the physical body at will. Jesus attained such a body at his Resurrection. To summarize this cosmological perspective of evolution. a separation that gradually increased with each succeeding stage of evolution. the goal of all evolution. or resurrection body. in his resurrection body Jesus Christ was able pass through closed doors. This is the ultimate goal of evolution in the seventh incarnation of the Divine Mother. leads toward the future planetary condition called Vulcan. At the present Earth stage of evolution we are experiencing the most profound
.The Sophia Teachings
work. The seventh globe.
The seven stages of evolution are the seven pillars in the temple of Sophia. How. that we ourselves have gone through these stages of incarnation of the Earth. Of course. From the stand107
. understanding it involves meditating upon it. But through the Mystery of Golgotha and Christ’s descent into the Earth to unite with the Divine Mother. to understand or accept the vision of spiritual evolution that is presented to us by Rudolf Steiner. The beautiful thing about Steiner’s description is that it shows there is a unity between human evolution and cosmic evolution. Rudolf Steiner defies the Darwinian theory of a purely material development. we can see that the great plan of evolution confirms Sophia’s words from the Book of Proverbs: Wisdom has built her house. educated in the light of Darwin’s theory. It may be difficult for modern human beings. They constitute the architecture of the temple of evolution. she has set up her seven pillars. we have the beginning of a long process of spiritualization of the Earth and humanity that will culminate in the union or the re-integration of the Divine Mother and the Divine Father. It was Rudolf Steiner’s great contribution to have unveiled this plan of the divine architecture of evolution. From this perspective. can we begin to grasp this new perspective? As with many spiritual teachings. and trying to discover within oneself whether it resonates with what one has already understood of existence. When we can begin to grasp that we ourselves are bound up with the planet Earth. contemplating it. that at each stage we ourselves have entered into a higher level of consciousness. then our very existence begins to take on a higher meaning and significance.Modern Teachings of Sophia
degree of separation between the Divine Father and the Divine Mother. in putting forward this extraordinary cosmological perspective of evolution. therefore.
. were bearers of the message of this New Age of the Divine Feminine that is in the process of awakening. with the founding of Theosophy and Anthroposophy.The Sophia Teachings
point of the Sophia teachings. both Blavatsky and Steiner each in their own way.
All around only water and light. VLADIMIR Solovyev. Everywhere I sense you. Yet the eyes remain. in the flight of all appearance. wrote many beautiful and inspiring poems based on his visions of Sophia. full of strength. The ice melts. full of radiance.Chapter Seven Reincarnation and the Second Coming
HE RUSSIAN POET AND PHILOSOPHER.
. Billowing clouds dissolve into light. Here is one from the year 1898:
Between waking and dreaming. Flowers are blooming all around me. and in the blue shimmering distance the All flows to me in unity. at all times you are there. Transparent tones sound silently in the ethers. Your gaze penetrates me to my innermost core. radiant like stars. day and night.
a common element in their teaching is the idea of reincarnation. light. We might. wonder: Why was the idea of reincarnation excluded in the West? For example. a consequence. therefore. or incarnations. Blavatsky. Madame Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner shared a common goal in bringing the teaching of reincarnation to Western humanity. and Valentin Tomberg as heralds of the New Age. This. a metamorphosis of those previous lives. in order to develop the
. and that our present life can really only be understood on a deeper level as a continuation. we need to grasp that Western humanity had to pass through a particular period of time not knowing about reincarnation and karma. in the oriental traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism reincarnation has been taught as a matter of fact for thousands of years. why did Jesus not teach reincarnation? To understand this question. I believe that it is an essential part of the Sophia teachings to understand the New Age and the role of the Divine Feminine in this New Age. Of course. too. Rudolf Steiner. and grace. belongs to the unfolding mysteries of the Divine Feminine. P. entering into communion with her whose being resounded tone. Every human being needs to understand and experience that they have lived on Earth in previous physical bodies. warmth. Perhaps in the ancient mystery temples of Egypt the priests of the mysteries experienced Divine Isis in much the same way. We are now living in the New Age. when the possibility of such experiences is opening up again for all human beings.The Sophia Teachings
This wonderful poem evokes for us something of the mystical experience of the Divine Sophia. The whole panorama of cosmic evolution as described by Rudolf Steiner only makes sense against the background of reincarnation. beauty. If we look to H. This raises the question of what the New Age is.
where reincarnation and karma have always been taught. there is the danger of becoming a fatalist. of having the feeling that life is predetermined by fate. Christ is really pointing to a later age when the idea of reincarnation would become accessible
.. as Jesus himself said to his disciples: There are many things that I cannot teach you now but which you will understand later and which will be shown to you by the spirit of truth. This is the only example we can find in the Gospels that points specifically to reincarnation. That has been the case during the last two thousand years. We can see how knowledge of reincarnation and its consequences. Early in the last century. But. at least for a period of time.And if you are willing to accept it. Rudolf Steiner also spoke of Elijah reincarnating as John the Baptist. namely the idea of karma or destiny. Matthew. With these words. could prevent someone from unfolding their free initiative. this is a superficial understanding of reincarnation and karma. according to one’s karma or destiny.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
sense of being a free and independent personality. If we look at Christianity. Nevertheless.. the Holy Spirit. That is. it was necessary for Western humanity to be oblivious to the idea of reincarnation and karma. where he points to John the Baptist as being the reincarnated prophet Elijah: Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. How may we understand this? If we look at the Hindu culture. he is Elijah. and that therefore one is really powerless to affect or influence one’s life. On a more advanced level.. Of course. we find no indication of reincarnation except for one statement by Jesus in the Gospel of St. we also find in Hinduism and in Buddhism the concept of overcoming and transforming one’s destiny. in the wise guidance and unfolding of evolution. we can see that there has been a tendency to develop a certain passivity in relationship to life.
and also signs in the heavens. and famine on an unprecedented scale. the vernal point. we are at the end of the Age of Pisces. we can see the evidence of war. but which is to come forward again now in this New Age. and in a period of transition to the Age of Aquarius.The Sophia Teachings
even within a Christian context. famine. which is the marker of the different astronomical ages. and the Aquarian Age will officially begin. Jesus spoke of war. However. And there have been many other earthquakes all over the world. is still in the constellation of Pisces. Therefore. earthquake. Currently. At the present moment in time the vernal point is at five degrees of Pisces and moving backwards at a rate of one degree every seventy-two years. earthquake. For example. An earthquake in Tokyo in 1923 resulted in the death of over one hundred thousand people. The twentieth
. the vernal point is moving gradually backwards through Pisces. However. At the present time we are not yet in the Age of Aquarius. When asked by his disciples what would be the signs of his Second Coming. And if we look at the twentieth century. Thus. as any astronomer can confirm. a period prophesied to be full of disturbances on Earth and culminating in the Second Coming of Christ. we are at present still in the Age of Pisces. We understand reincarnation as one of the teachings that Christ could not bring to Western humanity two thousand years ago. one of the most widespread being that the New Age is the Age of Aquarius. we can say that in approximately 2375 CE the vernal point will enter Aquarius. So what is the New Age? There are many different ideas about it. the most powerful earthquake ever to rock the North American continent took place in 1906 in San Francisco. and a devastating earthquake hit India in 2001 resulting in another one hundred thousand deaths.
which means presence. Before going into any details as to the significance of this thirty-three and onethird year cycle. therefore. The etheric sheath could also be described as the aura of Earth. the twentieth century seems to fulfill at least some of the criteria mentioned by Christ as presaging his Second Coming. but of a renewed presence. We can. The Greek word relating to the Second Coming is parousia. and have discovered a very interesting time cycle with the help of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions. that which is known esoterically as the etheric sphere of existence.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
century also reveals itself as an unprecedented age of war. It is estimated that in the twentieth century alone over one hundred million people have died as a result of war. Christ lived exactly thirty-three and onethird years. This would be a complete misunderstanding. inspiring. it permeates all the forces of nature. and all forms of
. Again. From his birth in Bethlehem through the Mystery of Golgotha. this century provides us with evidence of the death of millions of people due to hunger. This is a key cycle for understanding the unfolding of the New Age in relation to the Second Coming of Christ. followed by the Second World War in 1939. understand Christ’s Second Coming as a guiding. a cycle that is connected with Christ’s life in an unusual way. If the twenty-first century is the age of Christ’s Second Coming. how can we understand it? I have worked with this question for many years. looking at the problem of famine in different regions of the world. and transforming presence within the Earth’s biosphere. Christ is not speaking of an incarnation. In 1914 the First World War broke out. I would just like to draw attention to the fact that the Second Coming of Christ is not to be understood as a return of Christ in a physical body. Looking at the evidence.
with the return of Christ in the etheric realm or biosphere of the Earth. spiritual being of Christ into the body of Jesus created what Solovyev calls the God-Man. Two thousand years ago Christ incarnated into the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus Christ became the God-Man. and every woman has a male etheric body. In actual fact he was twenty-nine years and nine months of age. cosmic. fulfilling his mission and destiny until his death at Golgotha and the resurrection one and one-half days later. the Jewish culture. therefore. but clairvoyants can see it subtly permeating the physical body. Two thousand years ago Christ incarnated into a male form. Today. It is in this etheric realm that the presence of Christ may be experienced in the New Age. something completely different is taking place. The implication. The etheric body is invisible to physical sight. every man has a female etheric body. As it says in the Gospel of St. This cycle is a key that unlocks many doors in our present age. Christ indwelt this physical body of Jesus of Nazareth for three and one-half years. This incarnation of the divine. The Second Coming is taking place in the etheric realm of existence. and he proclaimed his teaching in the context of a patriarchal culture. and maintaining its flow of life energy. His ministry constitutes the three and one-half culminating years of the thirty-three and one-third year life of Christ. His disciples were male. the Baptism in the Jordan took place when Jesus was about thirty years old. In order to grasp the full significance of this we need to ponder a fundamental esoteric fact. of Christ’s return in an etheric body is that the Divine
. The actual descent of Christ into the physical vessel provided by Jesus of Nazareth took place at the Baptism in the Jordan. the perfect union of a divine being and a human being. Luke.The Sophia Teachings
life upon the planet. That is.
just as two thousand years ago the central prayer of Christianity was the Our Father. Something of this feeling can now be awakened in each one of us. Just as two thousand years ago Christ’s mission was the salvation of humanity. blue-shrouded planet. and redemption of our Divine Mother Earth. Astronauts have described the immense feeling of love and unity that they have felt for Mother Earth. It is a polarity to the Divine Masculine that was activated by Christ two thousand years ago. the Our Mother. the livingness of the Divine Feminine. with the return of Christ in the etheric. and that it has a truly extraordinary feminine appearance. and specifically in the Our Mother prayer taught by him. like a jewel in cosmic space radiating goodness. reveals the significance of the Second Coming of Christ. now. With the return of Christ in the etheric realm. spiritualization. to humanity. it is the Our Mother prayer that Christ himself is teaching. if we turn our inner hearts and minds to
. This is the profound meaning of the New Age. the LordÕ s Prayer. and learn to see the whole planet as a living being. Evidence of the ushering-in of the Age of the Divine Feminine can be found in the work of Valentin Tomberg.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
Feminine is being activated. Now is the time for the spiritual transformation of the planet. This great prayer. and it was given by Christ. The Our Mother prayer conveys to us that we have a unique role to play in helping the work of Christ in the transformation. he is coming for the redemption of the Earth. Some astronauts who have looked down upon the Earth from outer space have shared that it seems a most beautiful. so we can see how important it is that we grasp the reality. without our having to go out into outer space. through Valentin Tomberg. I believe this is the central prayer for the new dispensation of Christ now taking place. and all Earth’s beings.
The German romantic poet Novalis. During this time. In his view. for Steiner.160 years. The Second Coming Let us now go into more detail concerning the Second Coming. There is some overlap here with the Age of Aquarius. also spoke of the human being as the messiah of nature. From the year 1910 on. from 2375 to 4535. Solovyev spoke of the human being as the messiah of the cosmos. the beings of nature look toward the human being as a potential messiah for their kingdom. and Rudolf Steiner was one of the first to speak of this event. just as we look to Christ as a messiah for humanity. In fact. Christ’s presence within the etheric aura of the Earth will provide a stimulus for the transformation of the entire planet.500 years from 1899 to 4399. Valentin Tomberg continued this impulse through his teaching of the Our Mother prayer and the Little Rosary. but of something that began gradually unfolding in the twentieth century and that will last for some 2. saying that it was imminent. that it would begin to be noticeable in the 1930s. This signifies that we human
. which help us to grasp and experience this unfolding of the Divine Feminine that is becoming activated now through the Second Coming of Christ. who was profoundly inspired by Divine Sophia. We are not talking here of an instantaneous event. and he saw his whole life’s work as a preparation for it.The Sophia Teachings
the Christ. and to his work now in the transformation of the whole world of Nature. and every human being is invited to participate in this work. Steiner began to proclaim this return of Christ in the etheric. this was the greatest spiritual event of the twentieth century. The central mystery of the twenty-first century is the mystery of the return of Christ in the etheric realm. which will last around 2.
Jesus was with his disciples in a boat and while he was asleep a great storm suddenly blew up. a mission.
. awaiting redemption through the sons and daughters of light. awoke him and he arose and spoke to the wind and the waves until they were stilled. This groaning in travail refers to the groaning of the beings of nature. Paul refer to the creation eagerly awaiting redemption by the sons and daughters of light: The whole of creation has been groaning in travail. and strength of spirit into the world of nature. Humanity’s responsibility toward nature has by and large been ignored within the history of Christianity up until now. our inner warmth. that she may be freed from the bondage of decay. our devotion. With the help of Christ. As an example. Paul’s letters to the Romans has not really been grasped by humanity even now. The disciples. These words of St. looking to humanity for redemption.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
beings have a task. The disciples said: What kind of man is this. the full impact of one of St. humanity’s task is to begin to pour our love. the voice of divine love speaking to them. and may attain the glorious liberty of the children of God. becoming fearful and anxious. to give back to nature what nature has freely bestowed upon us to sustain our very existence. we can see how Christ was able to relate to the forces of nature when we recall him stilling the storm on the Sea of Galilee. This is what the beings of nature long to hear. and a responsibility to help in the work of the spiritualization and transformation of nature. that even the wind and the waves obey him? Why did they obey him? Because they knew the voice of divine love was speaking to them. In this respect.
his hymn to the creation. I order you not to hurt me or anyone. Then calling to it. how can we learn to find him? How is the Christ to be found within the etheric realm? What time cycles underlie his activity? In order to answer these questions. Francis of Assisi. the wolf closed its terrible jaws and stopped running. Francis’ Hymn to the Sun. and made it slow down and close its cruel mouth. St. The saint made the sign of the cross toward it. As soon as he gave it that order. The fierce wolf came running toward St.The Sophia Teachings
There are examples of saints who have developed something of this quality of love for nature. This great hymn is a true representation of the new impulse of Sophianic Christianity in the New Age. let us return once again to the thirty-three
. of course. takes account of Mother Nature. The beings of nature could hear and respond to his words of love. In the name of Christ. which find expression in a most beautiful way in St. such as St. Francis said: Come to me. who could speak to the birds. Francis and his companions with its mouth open. B rother Ò Wolf. it lowered its head and lay down at the saintÕ s feet.Ó I t is marvelous to relate that as soon as he had made the sign of the cross. There is. as though it had become a lamb. and looks to Divine Sophia as the world soul who fills the entire cosmos. and tamed a wild wolf. where he speaks of Brother Sun and Sister Moon. This perspective is now being revealed in this New Age of Christianity. a Christianity that embodies the impulse of the Divine Feminine. And the power of God checked the wolf. the question: If we cannot see Christ.
this being half the length of the five thousand-year period of the preceding Kali Yuga. and he pinpointed its beginning to the year 1899. In Hindu terminology this means the Age of Light. therefore. what in the Hindu tradition is called the Age of Darkness. the year 1899 was the last year of Kali Yuga. Two thousand years ago he addressed humanity on the physical level of existence. The word satya means truth.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
and one-third year cycle. and in 2.500
. Kali Yuga extended over a five thousand year period beginning in February 3102 BCE. there began the Age of Light. This was the same year in which he had the profound. the Satya Yuga began. According to Steiner’s understanding of the Hindu yugas. and then will begin to work on the astral plane of existence. Rudolf Steiner was the first person to refer to the New Age. So the Satya Yuga that began in 1899 will last 2. What stands behind this shining in of the light of truth? It is the return of Christ radiating his etheric presence for the benefit of the whole planet. We can understand the Age of Light. Five thousand years later brings us to the year 1899. mystical experience of Christ that transformed his whole life and awakened him to become a prophet of the etheric Christ. the next yuga. at which time the etheric Christ will withdraw from the biosphere of Earth. According to Rudolf Steiner.500 years. The New Age will extend from 1899 to the year 4399. when. but now he is addressing humanity from the etheric or life level of existence. which is a key to understanding the impulse of the New Age. therefore. We can see that Christ works from age to age to guide the unfolding of human evolution. In 1899. to be an age of the light of truth beginning to shine upon us. So when did the New Age begin? As far as I know. each age lasts half as long as the preceding one. therefore.
or images.The Sophia Teachings
years’ time he will begin to address humanity from the astral. a series of flashbacks. or soul level of existence. in a still further distant era of time. This usually takes about three days. and only separates from it at the moment of death. detailing our whole life. we see how Christ leads humanity on Earth from stage to stage. He explains that the thirty-three and one-third year cycle. Thus. In the case of a normal human being. ever higher. when the etheric body is released from the physical body. in this unfolding course of evolution. there was no dissolution of this etheric body at the moment of his death or resurrection. Christ was
. for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Then again. As Christ himself said. With these words. At the moment of death. Many people who have had near-death experiences have beheld this extraordinary tableau. In the case of the Christ. is of key significance. when he spoke to Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane on Easter Sunday morning: Do not touch me. and it was in this etheric body that the Ascension of Christ took place forty days after the Resurrection. but go and tell the disciples that I will ascend to the Father in heaven. the etheric body begins to dissolve back into the etheric cosmos at the moment of death. How can we grasp this? During the life of a normal human being the etheric body is united with the physical body between birth and death. the spiritual level of existence. who had completely spiritualized his etheric body. Rudolf Steiner links the New Age with this event of the Second Coming of Christ. All the experiences of our life are imprinted into the etheric body. he will address humanity from the egoic or devachanic level of existence. So Christ was able to dwell within his etheric body. the length of Christ’s life. leaving the physical body behind as a corpse. emerges in a majestic panorama.
The soul then begins the descent through the planetary spheres in reverse order. and eventually entering into the sphere of the Moon. At approximately this moment. Rudolf Steiner also chronicled this journey of the soul after death. In the Christian esoteric tradition. Mercury. drawing the forces for the feet from the constellation of Pisces. and so on down. This journey of the soul after death is described in Dante’s great work the Divine Comedy. The spirit seed. for the shoulders and arms from the constellation of Gemini. and eventually enters the world of the fixed stars. The fixed stars of the zodiac are considered the central belt in this whole world of stars. the archetype for the physical body. is built up containing the forces of all the constellations of the zodiac. the Sun.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
proclaiming that his ascent in his etheric body to the realm of the Father would begin forty days later. where the egg is fertilized in the womb of the mother. and after death the soul ascends through the succeeding planetary realms of the Moon. The human being then engages in the activity of building up the archetype of the physical body from the constellations of the fixed stars. As Jesus said: In my FatherÕ s house are many mansions. Venus. Mars. Jupiter. the millions upon millions of stars shining in the heavens can be understood as an outer manifestation of the realm of the Father. At the moment of making this decision. There the decision is made to re-incarnate upon the Earth. returning with this spirit seed. the archetype of the physical body. It is here that the event of conception takes place. the forces needed for the larynx from the constellation of Taurus. Every human being makes this journey after death. consideration is made for the needs of a new physical body. the incar121
. Saturn. to enter this world of the fixed stars. drawing the forces needed for the head from the constellation of Aries.
around the year 1930. that our physical body is a cross between that which we have received through heredity from our parents. The human soul mirrors the cosmic soul. and that which we have brought down ourselves from the world of the stars. which was the year of his crucifixion and resurrection. we gain a glimpse of profound star mysteries. therefore. The return of Christ follows this same archetype.The Sophia Teachings
nating soul sends down the spirit seed to unite with the fertilized egg in the mother’s womb. followed by its descent through a further twenty-eight thirty-three and one-third year cycles. This ascent began on Ascension Day in the year 33 CE. and now he is returning from this realm of the Father down again through the planetary spheres to Earth. We could say. It will entail a living understanding of how the human being reincarnates. where it becomes active in the building-up of the physical body. Consider that
. and how. Sophia. The full impact of Christ’s return in the etheric only began to be felt. The ascent of Christ’s etheric body took place through twenty-eight thirty-three and one-third year cycles. actually in 1929. human karma or destiny is carried over from one life to the next. To arrive at an understanding as to how the human being is formed in the image and likeness of the cosmos is essential to the New Age of the emergence of the Divine Feminine. This living wisdom of the stars is inspired by Divine Sophia herself. however. through reincarnation. and will emerge during the course of the New Age. and culminated with the beginning of the return of Christ in the etheric realm in the year 1899. how the human being is related to the world of stars. After his death. Raising the veil of Sophia or Isis. Fifty-six revolutions of the thirty-three and one-third year cycle occurred between CE 33 and 1899. Christ ascended in his etheric body through the realms of the planets into the realm of the fixed stars.
it was actually some twenty-nine years and ten months later. A true understanding of the unfolding of this thirty-three and one-third year cycle enables us to understand what has been taking place in the twentieth century. signifying the time between the baptism in the Jordan and the crucifixion and resurrection. This means that. We can speak of these three thirty-three and one-third year cycles as stages of the unfolding of the New Age.
. in the year 1929. and Holy Soul—is inspired by the new dispensation of the Christ for the New Age. followed by the resurrection. (33 1/3 .3 1/2 = 29 years. that the ministry of the etheric Christ began. 10 months. Daughter. so we understand that Christ’s presence (parousia) is calling forth the Divine Feminine: that his work is now directed toward the Divine Mother. although the return of the etheric Christ began in 1899. and to heal. to perform miracles. and that the most important period in the thirty-three and one-third years of his life is the last three and one-half years. The teaching of the three aspects of the Divine Feminine given by Valentin Tomberg—Mother. the Second Coming of Christ.) If we look at the course of the twentieth century we see that it is actually shaped by three thirty-three and one-third year cycles that symbolically represent the life of Christ.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
the etheric body of the Christ contains all the memories of Christ. This three and one-half year period is called the ministry of Christ. As we begin to grasp the meaning of his return in the etheric realm. This culminated with his sacrifice on the Cross. or the New Age of Sophianic Christianity which is inspired by the return of Christ. just as two thousand years ago it was directed toward the Divine Father. It was during these last three and one-half years of his life that Christ began to teach.
As St. our own divine ego. the etheric Christ was working on the level of human thinking. The work of the etheric Christ during this period was to create and sow the seeds of spiritual community as reflected in the words: Where two or three are gathered together in my name. and shared his Sophianic perspective on cosmic evolution that we discussed in Chapter Six. as well as therapies for handicapped people. If we ask what was the central impulse of the etheric Christ in this first period culminating between 1929 and 1933. medicine. we see the impulse of the etheric Christ working down from the thinking level into the human life of feeling. In the first thirty-three and one-third year period. We can find many of these new spiritual concepts in the work of Rudolf Steiner. we could say it was to bring to birth in each human being a consciousness of our own divine nature. During the second period. new spiritual concepts. unfolding a new life of thought. Through spiritual science. Paul says: Not I but Christ in me. farming. This impulse culminated very strongly in the 1960s. before the culmination of the first thirty-three and one-third year period of the century in the three and one-half year period between 1929 and 1933. when we saw the
. and religion. he opened up many practical applications of spiritual ideas to the realms of education.The Sophia Teachings
The Three Thirty-Three and One-Third Year Cycles Let us now look in closer detail at how these three aspects of the Divine Feminine relate to the thirty-three and one-third year cycle as it unfolded during the course of the twentieth century. indicating humans to be spiritual beings. art. from 1933 to 1966. the birth of the divine I AM consciousness is the first step of the New Age. Born in 1861. Therefore. our own I AM. there am I in the midst of them. the emotional level. Rudolf Steiner died in 1925. He spoke of a New Age understanding of the world.
Demeter. the comet Hayakutake came into the vicinity of the Earth’s orbit exactly at the beginning of this three and one-half year period at the culmination of the twentieth century. the period of the etheric Christ’s activity on the level of the will. he said there would be signs in the heavens. This period signified the activity of the etheric Christ moving down from the feeling life to the level of the human will. We can look upon the activity of the etheric Christ as inviting us to rediscover the Earth Mother. And we can look upon the etheric Christ as the high priest of the new mysteries of Eleusis in our time. This ideal is coming to expression in many seekers in the Western world. and a fruit of this new activity of Christ is the awakening of human beings more and more to the idea and experience of the Earth as a living being. To characterize this activity of the etheric Christ at the end of the twentieth century. Exactly one year
. Two thousand years ago.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
longing and search for community in many parts of the world. There have indeed been signs in the heavens in the twentieth century. when the disciples of Jesus asked him what signs would presage his return. Connection with the Earth as a living being can be found in the goddess movement that began in the 1970s. we could speak of an infusion of his life force such that an awakening is taking place in the whole of nature. In the year 1996. culminating in the three and one-half year period from February 1996 through to September 1999. The comet Hayakutake appeared totally unexpectedly in February 1996 to proclaim the beginning of this significant period. The third thirty-three and one-third year period extends from 1966 until 1999. and to a certain extent also in the ecological movement. especially in America and Europe. It is through the life of the will that we are connected with the whole being of Mother Earth.
it would signify an impasse for the future development of the human being. the representative of the new power of Greek independent thinking. the comet Hale-Bopp proclaimed the beginning of the second year of the ministry of the etheric Christ at the end of the twentieth century. what we might call an etheric clairvoyance. In our time. which hypnotizes humans into mechanical thinking and. Perseus. For those wishing to understand the message of the comets. If this were to continue. turns them to stone. and in antiquity. for modern humanity the evil eye of Medusa is the hypnotizing television screen. due to overuse of the computer. this threat facing modern humanity. in the view of mythology. So if the comets are pointing to Medusa in our time. and the crossing-point of the trajectories of these two comets was none other than at the star Algol. We have already discussed the myth of Perseus and Medusa. Through this new power of clairvoyance we will
. Let us return to this myth in order to understand the message of the comets for our time. or the computer screen. used his intelligence to overcome Medusa. on account of this variability. The way forward is to overcome mechanical thinking by developing a new clairvoyance. The orbits of these two comets formed a cross in the heavens.The Sophia Teachings
after Hayakutake. in Greek mythology. human thinking has reached a point where it is in danger of becoming mechanized. in the head of Medusa! The star Algol has periods of brightness and darkness. The evil eye of Medusa. Hayakutake and Hale-Bopp speak to us of an extraordinary challenge facing humanity. was the evil eye of ancient clairvoyance turned against the development of the free human personality. it was looked upon as the “evil eye” in the head of Medusa. So the comets Hayakutake and Hale-Bopp are pointing to this challenge. how can we interpret their message? As we have seen.
In fact. The positive message of the comets. I realize that comets often have negative connotations. Of course they would form a crossing-point somewhere. The probability of that being a random occurrence is very remote. April 10. as bearers of divine love and wisdom. is a sign to us that it is more than mere coincidence. the promise for the future is to see the flow of these forces within the human body and all around us in the world of nature. Whether we call these life forces prana or chi. is to stir a transformation of our thinking such that it becomes a power of vision with which we can begin to see into the unseen realm of the life forces. That the paths of the two comets should cross is not unusual. a higher wisdom and power of divine love that speaks to us from the world of stars. when we look up to the comets and begin to read what they are saying to us. This is highly regrettable. to open our hearts and minds. some observers had a completely false and materialistic interpretation of them. the biosphere of the Earth. and through this to begin to behold the work of the etheric Christ as a radiant sun infusing the world with new forces of divine life. We need only consider that the comet Hale-Bopp crossed the path of Hayakutake at the star Algol exactly on the same day. But that they should cross at that point exactly on the same day. exactly one year apart. or streams of energy.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
be able to see into the realm of the life forces. We simply have to learn to read the signs in the heavens in the right way. therefore. It is our challenge to begin to awaken. they point to a vast cosmic intelligence. to this stream of divine love and divine light that the comets have conveyed to us. I see the majority of comets in an entirely positive light. as Hayakutake had reached this point one year before. and to behold the etheric Christ. The comets are signs in the
. This is all part of Sophia’s new revelation. So. the etheric.
which coincides with the culmination of the first thirty-three and one-third year cycle in the twentieth century. the new mystery we must confront and overcome is the mystery of evil. We experienced a demonic manifestation of evil in the phenomenon of the Nazi movement in Germany before and during the Second World War. For human beings at that time. We can contemplate these challenges in the
. Consider. One can speak also of the “heroin demon” that takes hold of a human being when they use this substance. In our time. The unfolding of the new Christ impulse can be seen in the New Age as the drama of the struggle between good and evil. Humanity had to deal with the ghastly problem of Nazism that precipitated the Second World War and the slaughter of many millions of innocent people. for example. that the “gates of hell” had been opened. Anyone who has worked with drug patients. Christ overcame death. It is a problem of facing demonic beings. Two thousand years ago. I would like to draw attention to the main challenge in each of the thirty-three and one-third year periods of the twentieth century. Through his resurrection.The Sophia Teachings
heavens announcing this new activity of the etheric Christ in his work of the redemption of Divine Mother Earth. the mystery of Christ was revealed against the background of birth and death. death was the great mystery. To illumine the apocalyptic struggle of our time. which is a drama of the Divine Sophia. as I have. is aware that one is battling against something much more than solely a substance such as heroin. During the twentieth century it was possible to say. This is one area where we must confront and overcome evil. We can now begin to understand something of the challenges of the new century. literally. the problem of drugs that threaten so many millions of people. Hitler became chancellor in Germany in l933.
The third temptation relates to the human life of thought. John’s great vision of Divine Sophia found in Chapter Twelve of the Book of Revelation. where Christ is challenged by the devil to save himself from plunging from the pinnacle of the Temple. In the Gospels we find an archetype of the three temptations of Christ in the wilderness.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
light of St. The second temptation relates to human feeling life. Then he states that the woman is being threatened by a dragon. In 1933. that dragon raised its head from the abyss in the form of a powerful temptation that was presented through Hitler to the world. here. where he speaks of the woman clothed with the Sun. and on her head a crown of twelve stars. and Vladimir Solovyev brought the Eastern Sophia teachings to Russia. we can see how in the course of the Nazi movement in Germany and in Stalinist Russia. Perhaps. Interestingly. We cannot ignore this problem of evil. shown by Satan’s challenge to Jesus to turn stones into bread. The temptation of the will to power as it came to expression two thousand years ago was that of the tempter appearing to Jesus Christ and saying: If you bow down and worship me I will give you all
. since Germany and Russia were then attacked by the forces of darkness that we have symbolized by the dragon. Rudolf Steiner focussed primarily upon bringing the new Sophia revelation to Germany. The symbolism of these temptations has significance for our own time. with the Moon under her feet. shown by the devil’s offer to give Jesus dominion over all the lands of the world if he will bow down to him. we can see the hand of Divine Sophia at work. The first temptation is that of the will to power. This was the temptation of the will to power. the head of the dragon did indeed become a grave threat and caused untold suffering. If we ponder this powerful image of the Divine Sophia being threatened by the dragon.
This is the temptation where the devil tells Jesus to save himself by way of plunging from the pinnacle of the Temple. This was exactly the temptation that Hitler presented first to the German people. We can see in the present-day continuation of the drug problem that we are still dealing with this temptation.” is a modern-day version of the devil’s prompting Jesus to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple. Eventually. with increasing strength. the third temptation was directed to human thought life. this power of evil was crushed through the victory of the British and American allies defeating Germany and Japan in the Second World War. there came about the immense struggle against evil in the twelve-year period from 1933 to 1945. Through this temptation of the will to power.The Sophia Teachings
the kingdoms of the world. we see a new temptation directed at the human feeling life. Every time we take in artificially created impressions in the belief that they are something more than they really are. The words virtual reality bring this temptation clearly to expression. and the power of human conscience. It is the temptation to substitute the dead for the living. The drug epidemic that began in the 1960s was a temptation to escape from our rational consciousness and to plunge down into our life of instincts. Contemplating the second thirty-three and one-third year cycle from l933 to l966. tune in. This means to put in the place of reality something created by artificial means. rational thought. we are changing stones into
. drop out. The temptation he presented was: If you bow down and worship me I will give you everything you need. to substitute stones for bread. The slogan “Turn on. In the 1990s. and against great odds. What does this mean in an esoteric sense? The pinnacle of the Temple is the height of human consciousness. but his intention was to become ruler of the whole world.
feeling. show us that what is at stake here is nothing less than the battle for the human soul. The battle with the forces of darkness is intrinsic to grasping the unfolding of the Divine Feminine in our time. the whole of humanity similarly has to live through these three temptations. and will. which means coming to terms with evil. and the powerful image of Sophia as the world soul being attacked by the dragon. After Christ triumphed over these temptations two thousand years ago. now. At the end of his life Vladimir Solovyev wrote A Short Tale of Antichrist. desires to take over and dominate the human soul. And just as two thousand years ago Christ lived through these three temptations in the wilderness. angels came and ministered unto him. The struggle between good and evil. The comets Hayakutake and Hale-Bopp drew attention to the temptation of becoming subject to mechanical thinking and. and to help her in the work of the transformation of the Earth. The dragon.” This is the third temptation of the twentieth century. where he confirmed humanity’s challenge to encounter the powers of evil and thereby to awaken to new spiritual levels of consciousness. when we triumph over the three temptations directed to our faculties of thought.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
bread. In the same way. where angels will come and minister to us. We need to awaken to the Divine Sophia’s heavenly forces. therefore. and of course these three temptations are continuing now in the new millennium. substituting something lifeless in place of the living. This is the drama of the twentieth century.
. symbolizing the forces of darkness. we are promised an opening to the spiritual dimensions of existence. with the Second Coming of Christ in the etheric realm. of being hypnotized by the “evil eye.
it is often the case that there awakens at the same time the understanding that historical Christianity has done much to suppress the mysteries of the Divine Feminine. there has been an awakening to the Divine Mother. the science of the stars. the presence of the Christ. it seems that in the first thirty-three and one-third year period there was an extraordinary infusion of the light of truth.” For the Christ himself is now actively engaged in the work of redemption of the Divine Mother. the Holy Soul. He taught the mysteries. Valentin Tomberg was dedicated to bringing a new spiritual impulse into the twentieth century in what he called Christian hermeticism. What does Christian hermeticism have to do with the new revelation of the Divine Feminine? In order to understand this. We gain a fuller picture of the unfolding of the Divine Feminine in the twentieth century against the background of the parousia. Very often this knowledge is accompanied by a mood of wanting to turn away from Christianity. the first Person of the Divine Feminine Trinity. It dates back to Egypt and to the ancient sage Hermes.
. through individuals such as Rudolf Steiner. the third Person of the Feminine Trinity. however. let us look back to the origin of the hermetic tradition. would signify “throwing the baby out with the bath water. who was for the Egyptian people what Moses was for the people of Israel.The Sophia Teachings
In looking at these three periods of the twentieth century. who is now awakening us to a new face of the Divine. and of writing in hieroglyphs. This. Among those who have experienced an awakening to the Divine Mother. And during the last thirty-three and one-third year period. came to expression in the impulse toward spiritual community. the light of Divine Sophia. Hermes taught the priests of Egypt the essence of the Egyptian religion. In the second thirty-three and one-third year period.
Osiris was the pre-Christian form of Christ. we find a new way of relating to these divine beings. pre-incarnational form. For Hermes. In the Book of Revelation. Finally. in which the entire Earth is raised up in spiritualized form. Christ and Sophia. Christ is described as the Lamb and Sophia is the Bride of the Lamb. He taught devotion to Osiris and Isis. We can conceive of a metamorphosis from the mysteries of Hermes in ancient Egypt to the activity of Christ and Sophia in the etheric realm today. John has a vision where the Bride of the Lamb descends from heavenly realms. the Son and the Daughter. and Isis was the pre-Christian form of Sophia. are the same beings as those whom we now call Christ and Sophia. The Book of Revelation points to the coming into existence of a new Heaven and a new Earth through the sacred marriage of the Lamb and his Bride. We also find practical instructions for treading the spiritual path of Christian hermeticism. This wonderful vision that is presented at the end of the Book of Revelation depicts the goal toward which humanity and the Earth is striving as a New Jerusalem. who was inspired by Christ and Sophia in their pre-Christian. we find in this work a fusion of Christianity and the ancient Egyptian hermetic tradition. bringing the forces of the new heaven with her. The sacred marriage of
. How will the creation of this New Jerusalem come about? In the Book of Revelation. therefore. Osiris and Isis. This is a key to understanding Valentin Tomberg’s teaching on Christian hermeticism. If we read the seminal work. Valentin Tomberg shows humanity the possibility of finding a new spiritual relationship with Christ and Divine Sophia. Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. while the Lamb is depicted as having sacrificed himself in order to bring about a transformation of the Earth.Reincarnation and the Second Coming
Hermes was one of the great teachers of humanity.
The creation of a new Heaven and a new Earth signifies the awakening to the Divine Mother and an awakening to Sophia as the World Soul. or what Steiner calls the future Jupiter stage of evolution.The Sophia Teachings
the Lamb and his Bride signifies this union of Sophia and Christ. This extraordinary infusion will help enliven the whole of nature. as the next globe of evolution. and points us toward the goal of our present Earth—the arising of the New Jerusalem. and of what is to come as the further unfolding of the New Age during the new millennium. and we can participate in it if we are not cut off from nature. I see an itensification of Divine Sophia’s inflowing energies uniting with Christ’s outpouring grace as an opening of the entire planet to become a Grail vessel to receive a new infusion of divine life. At the dawn of the new millennium. more and more human beings will begin to find access to the kingdom of Shambhala: we will begin to feel a paradisiacal quality in our relation to nature and will begin to experience a new connection and unity with the entire planet. the golden realm of the Divine Mother in the heart of the Earth. This event will signify the calling forth from the depths of the Earth the lost kingdom of Shambhala. Understanding this message of the Sophia teachings is essential for a true grasp of the start of the New Age in the twentieth century.
. As a result.
Something of this experience is becoming accessible now through the reawakening to the Divine Mother that is taking place in our time. But it all depends upon whether humanity is open in heart
. The new experience of Shambhala will also be an experience of the harmony of the Tao. In the Taoist tradition. On a spiritual level this is an answer to the ecological crisis of our time. it is taught that human beings can experience an essential oneness with nature in the sighing of the wind. the mother of all things. especially those of the East. and will help to redress the unfortunate imbalance that has arisen between humanity and nature. in the falling of the rain. and a feeling of oneness with nature. Taoism is an ancient spiritual tradition whose goal is to promote an experience of the harmony between heaven and earth. For example. the Divine Mother is known in Chinese Taoism as the Tao. and other natural phenomena.Chapter Eight Other Traditions
THINK IT IS POSSIBLE TO PARALLEL THE TEACHING of Sophia in other spiritual traditions. in the sounds of rushing water.
that of Artemis in Ephesus and that of Demeter in Eleusis—is arising in human consciousness once again. a new quality of light within nature. Without some such experience it is easy to see that there will be a dramatic worsening of our ecological crisis. In this vision. many people. including myself. interest in the various mystery centers dedicated to the Divine Mother in the ancient world—for example. One friend of mine described a recent experience where he could see the inpouring of light into nature and the appearance of nature as a great feminine being. Thus. we can also look upon the different countries as embodying different aspects or different organs of the Earth. As he described it. and the great mountain chain. Africa appears as the heart of Mother Earth. making the regions of these mountains extremely important for the unfolding of the new consciousness of Mother Earth as a living being. extending from Alaska through the Rocky Mountains and the Andes to the tip of South America.The Sophia Teachings
and mind for this new experience. This is one of the characteristics pointing to the awakening that is now taking place upon our planet. have begun to experience a new sense of vibrancy. the Pacific Ocean as the womb of Mother Earth. This and other spiritual experiences point to this reawakening to the Divine Mother. an image of the goddess Artemis suddenly awoke within him. As if to confirm it. In order to understand how this experience of unity will impress itself upon us if we begin to attune to the world of nature. appears as the spinal column of Mother Earth.
. It is also possible to awaken to the Earth as a living being if one looks upon the different regions of the Earth as organs in the body of the Divine Mother.
This meditation can guide us to an awakening of the vastness and majesty of the Divine Mother. air. and earth—obey her. I am the creator of cycles of time. I am the ocean of light in which your soul lives. water. Feel me as the spiritual origin of all matter. water. light. I recall a profound meditation on the Divine Mother that was given by Rudolf Steiner. As an orientation toward this experience. we have a reference to the fact that as long as we do not see the Earth as a living being. Here she speaks in her own words to humanity: If you seek me with true desire for knowledge. call me Maya. and that all the elements of Nature—fire. and that through awakening to the Earth as a living being. This meditation points to the Mother as the ruler of space. Fire. light. illusion. It is an individual. In this last line. but one that more and more people are having. we are living in Maya. And as I have no consort on Earth. this awakening to the Earth as a living being is not something that we can expect to be reported in the news.Other Traditions
Of course. mystical experience. I shall be with you. we become true companions of the Divine Mother. I recommend meditating upon these words every day and allowing them to become a source of
. and the creator of cycles of time: it confirms that we are sustained by the Mother in the ocean of light. In this meditation the Divine Mother is understood as a living. air. feeling being who is the spiritual origin of all matter. I am the seed and the source of your visible world. and earth obey me. I am the ruler of space.
who lived from l872 to l950. Sri Aurobindo. For Sri Aurobindo. To return to the world religions.The Sophia Teachings
inspiration in our daily lives. the Divine Wisdom is Maheshvari. That which we call nature or prakriti is only her most outward executive aspect. Her presence fills and supports them with the divine spirit and the divine all-sustaining force and delight without which they could not exist. to a
. was one of the finest twentieth-century representatives of Hinduism. Sri Aurobindo exemplifies the ancient Indian tradition of devotion to the Divine Mother as the creative being who sustains us here in our existence upon the Earth. we also find in Hinduism a clear knowledge of the Divine Mother whose outer aspect manifests itself as Nature or Mother Earth. the individuality or the person. The Mother: The universal Mother works out whatever is transmitted by her transcendent consciousness from the Supreme and enters into the worlds that she has made. to the grandeur of the supreme light. if you will. For she is the mighty and wise one who opens us to the supramental infinities and cosmic vastness. As we relate to the universe and to the whole world of nature around us we will begin to experience the being-ness and the I-ness. Sri Aurobindo also points to the wisdom aspect of the Divine Feminine in words that remind us of the Sophia texts in the Old Testament. Here. Maheshvari is seated in the wideness above the thinking mind and will and sublimates and greatens them into wisdom and largeness or floods with a splendor beyond them. Here is a quotation from his work. of the Divine Feminine.
Tara. whether we call her Shakti. Prajna corresponds to the Hindu Shakti. Tranquil is she and wonderful. Another important Indian figure is Ramakrishna (1836–1886). who dedicated his life to worshiping that aspect of the Divine Feminine spoken of in Hinduism as Kali. It seems unlikely that any borrowing took place. because all wisdom is in her. According to the Brahma Vavarta Purana. who manifests in Buddhism as the goddess Tara. one of the central deities of the Hindu religion. the similarity between the texts is almost perplexing. The hymn to Prajna Paramita is a hymn in praise of the perfect wisdom of Divine Sophia. the consort of Krishna. though if this had been the case the Buddhist Mahayana texts. Reading the Hymn to Perfect Wisdom. great and calm for ever. Also we remember Radha. Radha is the force that leads humanity across samsara. In fact. back to its spiritual home. or the Liturgy of the 108 Names of Holy Tara.
. Considering the philosophical differences of the two traditions it is more likely that any apparent similarity is due to a common experience of eternal Wisdom. In Buddhism. Radha. to the measureless movement of the MotherÕ s eternal forces. which appeared later. or Divine Mother. Nothing can move her. would have been influenced by the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament. Numerous representations of Tara in her various forms are to be found in painting and sculpture. or Divine Sophia. She represents the holy wisdom of all that exists. the ocean of the world of change. the consort of Shiva.Other Traditions
treasure house of miraculous knowledge. we find an astonishing similarity to the description in the Books of Wisdom of the Old Testament referring to Divine Sophia.
and whose contemplation is meant to effect a sublime experience of the divine. and the women chant her prayers.to which she came floating upon a water-lily. who combines symbols from both Indian and Chinese traditions.. of the Chinese Buddhist tradition: The men love her. She has a round banner. she draws near to the people and the people draw near to her. there is the goddess of mercy. Then there is the Syama Tara. who is depicted as a radiant white goddess standing on a lotus and surrounded by a halo of flame. and gentle as the moonbeam.Pu TÕ o.. the thousandfold helper. the noble Tara.. Whatever the temple may be. she lives in many homes..Other gods are feared. who leads seekers over the sea of samsara to the otherworldly shore of nirvana. and in many. She is the model of Chinese beauty.The Sophia Teachings
In the Buddhist tradition the goddess Tara appears in different aspects.. Kwan-Yin. and to say that a lady or a little girl
. many hearts she sits enshrined. Then there is the Astamangala Devi.. signifying that she watches over all four directions in order to keep her gaze on those who belong to her.. the green Tara. Astamangala Devi has four heads. she is loved. is rich in content and yet simple in form. there is nearly always a chapel for Kwan-Yin within its precincts. the soul and mother of the universe. She has compassionate eyes.Her countenance is radiant as gold... She is seated in a relaxed meditation position. Her throne is upon the isle of. who promises happiness. the goddess of the eight favorable signs. such as Arya Tara. the children adore her. Lastly. indicating that she is the world’s axis and apex. and her youthful head crowned by a radiant diadem.. which gaze upon all the beings of the different worlds. There is also Sitatapatra Tara. her upper body decorated with jewels.
In addition to her appearance in Paris. All of these representations of the various goddesses from the Hindu and Buddhist traditions point to different aspects of Divine Sophia. divine wisdom. and knowledge. a third level of manifestation of Divine Sophia. Some of the aspects relate more to compassion. consider the many apparitions of the Virgin Mary taking place around the world. a spring began to issue forth from
. Hinduism. This universality of Sophia helps us to understand that we can learn from all the different traditions and acquire an ever-deeper love and knowledge and respect for what they convey to us concerning the Divine Feminine. In the world religions of Taoism. as we have seen. and also in other religions. and Buddhism. Most commentators point back to the year 1830. while the gnostic aspect relates to enlightenment. Interestingly. and as an indication that the Divine Feminine has intensified her activity in the New Age. we find a presence of the Divine Feminine in her various aspects. as commencing this new sequence of apparitions of the Virgin Mary.Other Traditions
is a K wan-YinÓ is the highest compliment that can be paid to Ò grace and loveliness. and in 1858 at Lourdes where she appeared to the young fourteen-year-old Bernadette and pointed to place in a grotto where Bernadette should dig up part of the soil. her first important appearances all took place in France. I see this as a counterpart to the manifestation of the Christ as a presence in the etheric realm. she also appeared in 1846 on a mountain called La Sallette near Grenoble. Within the Christian tradition. in Paris. Sophia was actually incarnated within the Virgin Mary. the quality of the heart. When Bernadette scooped away the soil. Yet another aspect relates more to our will.
in l917. Her appearances culminated in an extraordinary vision of the Sun as a rotating wheel of colored light that was seen by thousands of people who had journeyed to Fatima. There are signs that this prophecy Mary made in Amsterdam may be fulfilled in the not-too-distant future. a blind person put the water on his eyes and was healed. In this apparition we see the close relationship between Divine Sophia as the bearer of cosmic wisdom manifesting through the Virgin Mary. where she appeared. once a month. Mary warned of a coming great catastrophe in Russia if there was not a change of heart among those people. and the Divine Mother as the living being of the Earth. and shortly afterwards the Bolshevik Revolution broke out. One of the most important twentieth-century manifestations of the Virgin Mary took place at Fatima. Another significant series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary occurred in Amsterdam.The Sophia Teachings
the spot. where she appeared as the Lady of all Nations. occurring in the little
. a little village in Portugal. Shortly after this miracle. The Virgin Mary. or the Lady of all Peoples. was able to point to the healing source of the spring that issued forth from the Earth. During this sequence of apparitions. and it was conveyed to Bernadette that this spring was of holy water that had healing powers. And since that time many thousands of people have been healed through the water issuing forth from Lourdes. Unfortunately the message was not heeded. Yet another series of apparitions that have gained worldwide attention started in 1981. making this the most visited pilgrimage site of the Virgin Mary in the Western world. between l945 and l959. and spoke of her new designation as co-redeemer alongside the Christ. to three peasant children. over a period of six months. as the incarnation of Divine Sophia.
1531. Juan Diego. The basic message of the Virgin Mary was that we need to awaken. in order to convey her message to humanity.” It is due to this apparition that the Virgin Mary is acknowledged as the spiritual patron of America. Could it be that Our Lady of Guadalupe was a manifestation of Mary Sophia. The message of the Virgin Mary here and elsewhere is generally couched in very simple terms. Again. and that it is actually Mary Sophia who is the spiritual patron of America? Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an Aztec widower. her message is clear: we need to re-awaken to the Divine and return to an active relationship with it. Our Lady of Guadalupe The most famous apparition on the American continent was that of the appearance of Mary in Mexico in 1531 as “Our Lady of Guadalupe. we need to develop qualities of the heart. to return to our faith in the Divine. and her appearances are often to children or people without advanced education. In the meantime. The likeness of this supernaturally produced image to that of John’s vision of Sophia from the Book of Revelation is immediately apparent. and become concerned about what is taking place in the world. we need to pray. and her turquoise mantle is studded with golden stars. love our neighbors. who set off on the morning of December 9. millions of people have visited Medjugorje and have been touched in some way or healed by the Virgin Mary. the Virgin Mary appeared to several young people. from the
. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows her standing on a dark crescent Moon amidst the rays of the Sun forming a mandorla (an oval-shaped halo) around her.Other Traditions
town of Medjugorje in the Bosnian region of Yugoslavia. Nevertheless.
the rose being a traditional symbol of Mary (and also of Sophia). and he replied that he was going to church to celebrate a feast day dedicated to the Mother of God. (Juan Diego was his christianized name.) The mist cleared to reveal a young and beautiful woman in a robe in the colors of Aztec royalty. to go to church in the neighboring town of Santiago. on that cold December morning.) The woman responded by saying that she was the very holy Virgin Mary. He saw the top of the hill covered in mist permeated with colored light. He began to climb the hill. he saw red roses blossoming. Speaking in Juan Diego’s native tongue. mother of the creator of heaven and earth. (December 8 is the festival day of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary. mother of the true God. When he was passing by the hill called Tepeyac. he found that it had become a garden. listened patiently to Juan Diego’s story. She instructed Juan Diego to go to the bishop to communicate this to him. the woman asked Juan Diego where he was going.The Sophia Teachings
village of Tolpetlac. where he lived. Juan Diego returned to the hill of Tepeyac and Mary directed him to the top of the hill. he heard the song of many birds singing in wondrous harmony. like interpenetrating rainbows. To his surprise. and then requested that he return with a “sign” from the lady as proof that she really was the Virgin Mary. and that she desired that a temple be built at the foot of the hill in her honor. The birds stopped singing and Juan Diego heard his Aztec name spoken by a woman’s voice. a Franciscan. where he would find the “sign” that would be proof of her authenticity. The Spanish Bishop Zumàrraga. These were extraordinary jewel144
.” the goddess Tonantzin. which had earlier been the site of an Aztec temple dedicated to “Our Mother. Running to the top of the hill.
and ran back to the bishop’s palace. The Aztecs honored and appreciated the gifts of the Sun and the rhythms of the Moon. not far north of Mexico City. Finally admitted to see the bishop. This was an image of the woman who had appeared to Juan Diego.” Other Aztec Sun symbols appear on the tunic. and with golden stars adorning her mantle. Juan Diego began to gather up the roses in his cactus-fiber tunic or tilma. innocent maiden. The bishop and his assistant were visibly struck with awe and wonder. She is standing on the Moon. he opened his tilma and the roses spilled out onto the floor. He discovered the same dewy freshness on the roses that adorned the maiden’s youthful appearance like fresh down. similar to the Castilian roses associated with Spanish royalty. each drop of dew being like a pearl mirroring everything under the Sun. and surrounded by a mandorla formed by the Sun’s rays. it is appropriate to associate Our Lady of Guadalupe with Sophia. Thus. The people to whom Mary Sophia appeared in 1531 were in close connection with the cosmos. The golden symbol visible at the place of her womb signifies in Aztec. She appeared as a young. with the Moon under her feet.” The maiden’s skin was the color of the blush of the roses that Juan Diego found. this image of Mary is not European but is Aztec in origin. “the heart of the universe. This imprint of Mary is visible to this day. a kind of “nectar of the gods. for the tilma is on display (behind bullet-proof glass) at the shrine—now a basilica—of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This was the same maiden who in her
. Speaking poetically.Other Traditions
like roses. it was in her image that the rose was formed to catch the morning dew. for they beheld on the tunic an imprint of Mary. since she appeared to Juan Diego clothed with the Sun. enveloped in a turquoise mantle strewn with golden stars. Clearly. Mary is clothed in a red tunic embroidered with golden symbols.
” She appeared to Juan Diego “clothed with the Sun. On the path of spiritual development we are destined to become like rays of the Sun. unstained heart. pure. analogous to the physical birth process that Mary underwent in giving birth to Jesus two thousand years ago. who lived and walked the Earth two thousand years ago.The Sophia Teachings
freshness. It was essentially a phenomenon of light and sound. the Spiritual Sun has now to be born within. like the forming of the morning dew. innocence. In the being of Mary. to radiate out from each one of us into the world. like a pure crystal. thoughts proceeding from her radiant heart. whereby the thoughts of Mary Sophia were transmitted to Juan Diego as if on a beam of light. Such an apparition of Mary enables one to behold Sophia’s thinking and to grasp her thoughts toward the Earth and humanity. vivifying and regenerating both the atmosphere around and our own “inner atmosphere. absorbing the Spiritual Sun to become permeated with the divine substance of the Sun. and purity carried the child called the “Son of Man.” so that he beheld the Spiritual Sun shining forth from her. all reflecting various aspects of Sophia. The morning dew is formed through the meeting of the Earth forces with the warmth of the morning Sun. which was able to directly reflect Divine Sophia. In addition to Mary.” It is interesting that this imprint bestowed by Mary Sophia at her appearance to Juan Diego bears the fullness of the image of Sophia clothed with the raiment of the Sun—the Spiritual Sun or “Christ within. we find images of the Divine Feminine in different cultures. there lived an immaculate. Similarly. These
. Just as Mary gave birth to Jesus two thousand years ago.” Each one of us is able to connect with this inner birth process. the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was a crystallization from the spirit.
Understanding Sophia in the New Age involves envisioning her as the mother of humanity. It is a matter of opening our inner spiritual organs to be able to receive the spiritual light and to form images thereof. intuited. tend. It is possible to become aware of Her and the ever-present aspects of the Divine Feminine which nourish. we are all offspring of Sophia. all of which point to an intensification of the inflowing Divine Feminine energies during this time of crisis at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. the qualities of the Divine Feminine are inherent in the spiritual light that streams down continually upon us. and received in imaginations by people throughout the ages. poetry. The apparitions of the Virgin Mary are an important manifestation of the New Age of the Divine Feminine that is beginning now. and guide us on our individual paths.Other Traditions
images have been perceived. who have endeavored to capture their impressions of the Divine Feminine in art. the Mother of Humanity. and writing. as the link between the different religious traditions. the source of all wisdom teachings. felt. Even though each one of us may feel separate and alone in the “splendid isolation” of our own individuality. as the world soul. Just as the human eye is able to see by receiving light and forming images. * ** It is not possible to mention all the recent apparitions of the Virgin Mary. just as the physical eyes are able to see and to form images from the light received. as the inspi-
. etc. sculpture. the mother of creation. There has been a veritable explosion of these apparitions.
and wisdom is the light of creation. And the light shines in the heavens. This meditation is entitled “Sophia the daughter of God. and Sophia was with God. Sophia was in the beginning with God. opening to Sophia implies a willingness to understand that the Logos incarnated into Jesus and the Divine Sophia incarnated into Mary. She binds them together into one family whose members have been richly bestowed with individual gifts and graces. Within the Christian tradition.” In the beginning was Sophia. Enlightened by the true Light of heaven she
. I would like to share a meditation that will help deepen our feeling for Sophia in relation to the Logos and to Mary. She was illumined by the light of divine wisdom and came to bear the vessel of the Logos. She came for Sophia as bearer of the divine wisdom. and the angels radiate it forth. We can learn to appreciate the knowledge of the mystery of God that each religious tradition has to offer. united with the Logos. Sophia is wisdom.The Sophia Teachings
ration behind all conceptions relating to the Divine Feminine. Sophia is the universal mother and the world traditions are her children. The relationship between the members of the different world traditions and religions should not be one of opposition but of mutual appreciation and respect. All things were made by the Logos and Sophia. and that these incarnations are still influencing the work of redemption of humanity and the entire world of nature. There was a woman sent from God whose name was Mary. and lastly as the mediating link to universal salvation. that through her the Logos might incarnate into the world.
and nine significant charac149
. The meditation upon the etheric Christ is found in Chapter 1. But all who receive her now who turn to her as the Daughter of God. And Sophia took up abode in her. country. And the world knew her not. in which the Risen Christ appears to John on the island of Patmos. Now. time. Mary-Sophia was in the world: Sophia through whom. and it is in accord with the particular tradition. We are moving into the Age of Sophia which will enfold all humanity and have its impact upon all people on Earth. alongside the Logos. and of grasping how Sophia has worked within the various world religions bringing different aspects of divine wisdom to expression in different places at different times. in our time. This meditation points to the work of Sophia alongside the Logos from the beginning of the creation. Such experiences will create harmony. Of course.Other Traditions
gave birth to Jesus into whom the Logos incarnated. no Christian should feel superior to any believer from any other tradition. and place for each person. and it refers to the incarnation of Sophia in Mary to help fulfill the work of the Logos in his incarnation into Jesus. peace. She who delighted in humanity was not received by her own people. the world was created. and secondly on Divine Sophia—both drawn from the Book of Revelation. It is a matter of coming to an understanding of the harmony between the different world religions. He appears in a radiant form. she welcomes as sons and daughters of light. we find many enlightened human beings who are receiving the inflowing impulse and message of the Divine Sophia. Let me conclude with meditations—first on the etheric Christ. mutual respect. and understanding between all peoples of the Earth and between all religious traditions.
he has hair that is white as snow. Fourthly. Firstly. like white wool. a will that pours outward as the bestowing power of the good. and penetrate through to the very core of existence. The etheric Christ together with the Divine Sophia watches over humanity and the Earth to guide us through the seven stages of evolution toward its ultimate spiritual goal in the far distant future. the voice of the etheric Christ sounds like rushing water. Secondly. he has a golden girdle around his breast. This is the sword of the Word that can be wielded for the good or against evil. and shows that all his movements are guided by divine love. These eyes glow with the power of divine love. his feet are like burnished bronze. ancient Sun. Ninth. the face of the Christ shines like the power of the Sun at full strength. future Jupiter. meaning his voice and his entire being are in perfect harmony with all the forces of nature. Here we see
. he is clothed in a long white robe. present Earth stage of evolution.The Sophia Teachings
teristics are described. Here we can contemplate the creative power of the Word spoken by the etheric Christ. the etheric Christ has eyes like flames of fire. symbolizing profound wisdom. future Venus. the etheric Christ holds seven stars in his right hand. This brings to expression again the Sun-filled quality of divine wisdom. Fifth. This symbolizes the transformed will of the Christ. These are the seven stars already mentioned as the seven stages of creation: ancient Saturn. and future Vulcan. A golden girdle points to the heartfelt quality of divine love. pierce the veil of appearances. each pointing to different qualities of the etheric Christ. Seventh. and the whiteness of the hair portrays this radiance of wisdom. Sixth. from the mouth of the etheric Christ proceeds a sharp two-edged sword. ancient Moon. Thirdly. Eighth. When we think of a wise sage we tend to think of someone who has attained an advanced age.
into our souls. We will also be able to draw regenerating forces from the depths of the Earth through our feet when our level of evolution has purified us enough to sustain this inflow of pure divine life from the Divine Mother. and we might contemplate the image of Christ drawing from the depths of the Divine Mother the force and power that enabled him to walk upon the water. Sophia is the ideal for every human soul. This image of Sophia as the soul of the world shows her extended body as encompassing all the planets and stars. and eventually our souls become reunited with the world of stars. and then the world of the stars will be a crown upon our head. which means to take the light of the spiritual Sun. and from the entire planetary system she pours down her wisdom upon the Earth to those who are open in heart and mind to receive it. of the Christ. This ideal is to become clothed with the Sun. our negativity is gradually transformed. Sophia is described as being clothed with the Sun. with the Moon under her feet.Other Traditions
the power of divine will streaming through the feet connecting with the Earth. and to become clothed with it. The meditation on Sophia is drawn from the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. our souls radiating like the Sun. as already referred to. The crown of stars points to a future stage of evolution when we will become cosmic beings. where. and on her head a crown of twelve stars. united with the whole cosmos. and since every human soul is an image of the world soul. Contemplation of these nine characteristics of the etheric Christ can certainly guide us in our spiritual journey and help to bring us into connection with him. These two meditations drawn from the Book of Revelation are a helpful guide in our daily spiritual practice to strengthen our
. In so doing. Sophia is the archetype for every human soul.
In working with the Our Father and the Our Mother. and that then streaming back as a response of grace from the Father coming back into our heart. Lord Jesus Christ. Then. we can imagine a stream ascending upwards from our heart toward the transcendental Father of all creation. Here we also see the work of the Christ as the Son of God in uniting the Divine Father and the Divine Mother. who sends a stream of divine life up into our hearts. where the middle point of this figure eight is to be found in our own hearts. an image that may help us is that of a figure eight.The Sophia Teachings
connection with Christ and Sophia. and of his ascent to the Father in the heights after the resurrection. the Our Mother. which helped to open me to the Virgin Mary as a bearer of Divine Sophia. This is called the Prayer of the Lady of all Nations or the Lady of all Peoples. When praying the Our Father. is the prayer that the Virgin Mary revealed in her apparition in Amsterdam in the year 1951. A powerful prayer. I have already referred to the great prayer. once again. the stream goes down toward the depths of the Earth and.
. Son of the Father. We are able to balance our masculine and the feminine aspects in order to attain harmony within ourselves. When prayed together with the Our Father we find the possibility of uniting within ourselves a relationship to the Divine Father in the heights and to the Divine Mother in the depths of the Earth. Various other prayers and meditations can also assist us in our spiritual journey. in praying the Our Mother. Send now Thy spirit over the Earth. We can be further helped in this contemplation if we think of Christ’s descent into the depths of the Earth after his death on the Cross. we find a response coming this time from the Mother.
So the words Lady of All Peoples. This transition from disciple to apostle can take place if one is empowered from above and from within.Other Traditions
Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all peoples. During that holy festival of Pentecost. including later consequences such as those following the building of the Tower of Babel. This has relevance to a deeper understanding of this prayer for world peace. but were empowered from within to transmit his message. revealed by the Virgin Mary. who once was Mary. who once was Mary. That they may be preserved from degeneration. The Divine Sophia is able
. This simple prayer. the Virgin Mary became the vessel or the incarnation of Divine Sophia. This meant that they attained a stage of development at which they were no longer learning from the Christ. Intercede on our behalf. is a wonderful prayer for peace on Earth. and peace between all peoples. Standing behind this prayer is the archetypal event of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended as tongues of fire upon the disciples who were gathered around the Virgin Mary. Divine Sophia plays a significant role in this empowerment. disaster. Due to the consequences of the Fall. point to Divine Sophia who incarnated into Mary at that event two thousand years ago. we see the diversification of humanity into different nations and different peoples. and war. each speaking a different language. Through the event of Pentecost. Amen. May the Lady of all peoples. the disciples became apostles and went out in all directions of the world to become teachers. What took place at the event of Pentecost two thousand years ago? The disciples were transformed into apostles.
Sophia works to build a bridge between the different peoples of the Earth. who watches and guards over the development of that particular people. In this way. Son of the Father. the apostles had access to all the knowledge of the different tongues of the different peoples. The Divine Sophia is able to work on the level of the heart. disaster. they could understand the different languages that were being spoken. Send now Thy spirit over the Earth. who once was Mary. or folk spirit. May the Lady of all peoples. That they may be preserved from degeneration.
. In this sense she is the Queen of Peace among different peoples. Suddenly. What this means is that just as every human being has a guardian angel who watches over his or her destiny. as the connecting link between all the different peoples of the Earth. What the apostles experienced through the event of Pentecost was that their souls were elevated into a union with the Divine Sophia. Through Sophia. in her role as the Lady of all Nations: Lord Jesus Christ. so each nation or community of people has an archangel. This is also the content of the prayer revealed by the Virgin Mary in Amsterdam on February 11. 1951. or inspirational guides. Intercede on our behalf. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all peoples. of the different nations of the world. and war. Sophia can even be pictured as the heart of different folk spirits.The Sophia Teachings
to build bridges between the different peoples. Amen.
in the work of creation. The three prayers—the Our Father. and is called Satya Yuga or the Age of Light. healing. This great work is now at the center of the New Age. The Little Rosary builds the heart of this prayer sequence and. Earlier. So this transition to the New Age. And the light shines in the heavens.Other Traditions
Here we can understand the Lady of all Peoples as Sophia working in the heart of all the peoples and nations to bring peace to the world. I would like to state the Sophianic expression of the prologue to the Gospel of St. and the angels radiate it forth. and that we are in the late stages of the present Age of Pisces. Concluding this sequence of prayers. is really a time in
. Sophia was in the beginning with God. if prayed daily. where the Hail Mary is recited seven times with the seven divine I AM affirmations of the Christ. John: In the beginning was Sophia. can be seen as a preparation leading over into the Age of Aquarius. which began in 1899. This meditative prayer is a great help in focussing our minds and hearts upon Divine Sophia as the bride and companion of Christ. Sophia is wisdom. I referred to the fact that astronomical research shows that the Age of Aquarius will begin in CE 2375. the Logos. the Our Mother. united with the Logos. and Sophia was with God. which has begun with the twentieth century. and redemption of humanity. and wisdom is the light of creation. can help us open up to Divine Sophia. Nevertheless this New Age. and this Prayer of the Lady of all Peoples—can be taken as an introduction to the prayer I have described already as the Little Rosary. All things were made through the Logos and Sophia.
The Sophia Teachings
which we can begin to attune to the Age of Aquarius. the Age of Universal Wisdom.
. which can be called the Age of Sophia.
Let us remember that these astrological ages arise through the phenomenon known in astronomy as the precession of the equinoxes. It was exactly at this time in Alexandria that the early
.Chapter Nine The Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius
WOULD LIKE TO END BY REFLECTING MORE ON THE Age of Pisces. and contrast it with the Age of Aquarius. The vernal point is defined as the location of the Sun in the constellations on the day of the vernal equinox which is usually around March 21. the location of the Sun on this day is around five degrees in the constellation of Pisces.160 years. This refers to the retrograde movement of the vernal point backwards through the zodiacal constellations. 2.160 is thirty multiplied by seventy-two. Looking back we find the start of the Age of Pisces around the year 215 CE. At the present time. Taking the average rate of precession to be one degree in seventy-two years each age lasts 2. which is the coming age. in which we are living. this being the length of time taken for the vernal point to precess through thirty degrees.
he said: There will be a time of tribulation and then you will see the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. The lamb or the ram refers to the constellation of Aries. In my interpretation of these words. John. John the Baptist speaks the words: Behold the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world. We see that his coming two thousand years ago took place toward the end of the Age of Aries. with the Second Coming of Christ. So. As we find in the words of the Gospel of St. In the Age of Pisces. moreover. How can we understand this? The etheric Christ is a being who works in the realm of the life forces. And. the etheric Christ is now working in this last period of the Age of Pisces to prepare for the coming Age of Aquarius. In our time. the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. From the year 215 on with the beginning of the Age of Pisces. The entire impulse of the Christ at that time was directed toward preparing for the coming Age of Pisces. signifies the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. in this Age
. with the entrance of the vernal point into Aquarius. our consciousness has been brought right down into the physical body. Prior to this time during the Age of Aries. the part of the New Age we are living in now up until the beginning of the Age of Aquarius is the time of tribulation referred to by Jesus Christ. the coming of Christ in an etheric body. However. There is a deeper background to this. Christ began to be referred to as the Divine Fish.The Sophia Teachings
Christians there began to use the symbol of the fish for Jesus Christ. the Christ was referred to as the Lamb of God. Christ was already preparing during the last part of the Arian Age for the beginning of the Age of Pisces—preparing by drawing his disciples from fishermen and speaking to them as being fishers of human souls. that is the realm to which our own etheric bodies are related. In the words spoken by Christ referring to his second coming.
In esoteric terms. Pisces. the image of this constellation of the Waterbearer. i. Aquarius is called the Waterbearer and pours out from the vessel the stream of the waters of life.e. But this is also the age in which it will be increasingly possible through the feet to find a spiritual relationship with the Divine Mother in the depths of the Earth. the impulse of materialism will grow stronger and stronger.Age of Pisces and Age of Aquarius
of Pisces. points to this intense connection with the Earth and with the realm of matter through the feet. the etheric body indwelling the physical body and endowing it with life could be called the “waterbearer” in us. I believe this
. So the entrance of the vernal point into Aquarius can be seen as bringing to realization the prophecy of Christ concerning the appearance of the “sign” of the Son of Man in heaven. for which Christ was preparing humanity two thousand years ago. through this increasing consciousness within the physical body. and this right relationship is particularly important during the Age of Pisces. Aquarius. Unless we have this spiritual relationship to the Earth in the Age of Pisces. the rise of materialism has been made possible through this intense consciousness of ourselves in a physical body. untainted by materialism. as the zodiacal sign connected with the feet. It is this that is imaged in the heavens macrocosmically in the constellation of Aquarius. The deeper meaning of Christ’s “washing of the feet” is that it was a symbolic expression of the need to find a right relationship through the feet with the Earth. a relationship that is pure and unsullied. even to the extent of an identification with the physical body. Therefore. can be taken as a macrocosmic image of the etheric Christ as the bearer of new life and life forces. The flow of life within us is carried by the watery part of our being.
Already now in this New Age. we speak about my car. In the Age of Aquarius everyone will find that their consciousness will become shifted from the physical level to the etheric level.
. So. there will be much more a feeling for community. in the Age of Aquarius. Piscean Age consciousness tends to be focussed on the physical level of existence. and a sensitivity to the other as a free individual. an attunement to each other’s needs. This means that there will be an awakening to the life forces flowing in nature. This brings with it the tendency to want to possess. and that this will then signify a new consciousness. through an attunement to the etheric Christ in this last part of the Age of Pisces. the New Age is truly a preparation for the Age of Aquarius. In this sense. a transition in consciousness from the physical to the etheric level of existence. *** As I have suggested.The Sophia Teachings
sign is the entrance of the vernal point into Aquarius. and even my wife or my husband. A new science of healing will arise through this direct perception of how the life forces flow within the physical body. carried by the etheric body. There will be an awakening to the flow of life forces in our own being and there will be a direct perception of the etheric body. my house. a caring for one another. Therefore. This possessive form of relating to the world will dissolve in the Age of Aquarius with the shift of consciousness to the etheric level of existence. it is possible to begin to enter into this new consciousness that will come to manifestation in the Age of Aquarius. where there are not such sharp boundaries as in the physical realm. in this Piscean Age.
the will to experience oneself simply as a physical being. but that there are solutions that can arise through the spiritual awakening to the true New Age. On the other hand. I mean an awakening to authentic spiritual values of all the true great wisdom traditions of the Earth. to a completely new relationship to nature and to the whole Earth. This leads toward Aquarian Age consciousness. I think it is possible to see that there are grave problems in contemporary culture. we are increasingly focussed on the physical body and the physical world. This overemphasis is a negative facet of life in the Piscean Age. It is a battle between Christ and Antichrist on the
. a direct awareness through the heart. It is this that can be the central focus for our meditation in the light of the Sophia teachings. Against this background. to the building of spiritual community. with its attendant materialism.Age of Pisces and Age of Aquarius
In our time we can see how there are two distinct divergent tendencies at work in contemporary culture. This precious gift is becoming developed by an increasing number of people in our time. These tendencies strike at the heart of the essence of what is taking place in the world at the present time. Such an opening of the heart signifies a Sophianic quality that stands in contrast to the will to possess. By New Age I do not mean a commercialization of spirituality. It is this that is now coming about through the event of the return of the etheric Christ and the related event of the descent of Divine Sophia. there is truly an opening up of spiritual awareness and the development of faculties of the heart—particularly the faculty of intuition. of a direct knowing. in the light of the Sophia teachings. Anyone living in the contemporary Western world will recognize the two tendencies I have just described and how they pose a real challenge. to new values. This is the best side of what we can call the New Age. On the one hand.
it is then possible that our deeds.The Sophia Teachings
one hand and the battle between Sophia and Antisophia on the other hand. the battle between good and evil is taking place in other cultures as well. as a practice of mystical love with a higher being. the Sophia teachings are highly relevant. and with this I would like to extend my heartfelt support and hope that all who read this book will be able to find that inner power and strength of spirit to overcome the negative side of modern culture to work for the unfolding of true New Age spiritu162
. Of course. are so manifestly at work. can be completely in harmony with the spiritual world. is the deeper impact and message of the Sophia teachings for a new spiritual culture. This is called sacred magic. This is called gnosis. The outcome of this battle will influence the whole planet. it is with the help of the beings of Christ and Sophia that the deeper mission of awakening spirituality can unfold in this New Age. I would say. divine knowledge. the opening in love to this extraordinary and wonderful being. It is especially in Western culture that these powerful forces. When the heart and the mind are opened and aligned with the divine world. Against this background of the dramatic struggle taking place in contemporary culture. Our human will can be directed purposefully and in alignment with the intentions of divine wisdom and divine love. Antisophia is depicted in the Book of Revelation as the great whore of Babylon. At the beginning of this book. So. our alignment of will. This. We also referred to the opening of the heart to Divine Sophia. we looked at the work of the Divine Sophia opening up the human mind to the inpouring of Divine Wisdom through illumining our power of understanding and expanding our awareness of ourselves in relation to the whole cosmos. on the one hand for the good and on the other hand for the negative.
Queen. in this New Age. This is the hope for the future— rather than the spread of materialistic culture all around the globe. and orientation in the unfolding spiritual impulse of the Divine Feminine. the Sophia teachings can give inspiration. The spiritual culture of Sophia needs to be born now.
. All things corruptible are but a parable EarthÕ s insufficiency here finds fulfillment. help. Mother. As we begin this new millennium. Here the ineffable wins life through love The Eternal Feminine leads us above. and to become a force for the good in the great struggle currently taking place in the entire world. Goddess.Age of Pisces and Age of Aquarius
ality—what we can call the spiritual New Age that now wishes to be born in the hearts and minds of everybody who has chosen to incarnate on the Earth at this time. in which the poet refers to the Eternal Feminine as the guiding power of evolution. in thy grace. Keep us. Virgin. I would like to close with the final words from Goethe’s great drama Faust.
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2002. Tarcher/Putnam. Translated by Robert Powell. ME: Samuel Weiser. New York: Jeremy P. However.Epilogue
ECAUSE THE TEXT OF THE SOPHIA TEACHINGS was transcribed from spoken recordings. Nicasio. 1997. ——. Holy Wisdom. The Most Holy Trinosophia and the New Revelation of the Divine Feminine.
Anonymous. Sophia Mary: A Holistic Vision of Creation. 2000. Robert A. Schipflinger. Powell. CA: The Sophia Foundation of North America.
. Translated by James Morgante. Divine Sophia. notes and references are not included. MA: Anthroposophic Press. York Beach. the author recommends the following works containing a number of texts referred to in The Sophia Teachings. 1998. Thomas. Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. Great Barrington.
Translated by James Morgante and Robert Powell. Covenant of the Heart. 1992.)
. MA: Element Books. Valentin. Rockport. (Distributed by the Sophia Foundation of North America.The Sophia Teachings
For further information on the work of the Sophia Foundation of North America.net www. cofounded by Robert Powell and Karen Rivers. please contact: The Sophia Foundation of North America 3585 Knob Hill Lane Eugene.sophiafoundation.org
. OR 97405 Phone/Fax: 541-683-7797 Email: sophia@clipper.
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